PGA Tour Looks To NC Sports Betting Launch To ‘Future-Proof’ Business


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NC sports betting

The PGA Tour is leaning on new technology, live betting and a golf-crazed region to increase its slice of the wagering pie following the NC sports betting launch on March 11.

With a tech-focused NC sports betting partner in FanDuel, the Tour expects this new market to continue the positive progress golf betting has experienced to start the new year. According to data the PGA Tour received from US Integrity, overall golf handle was up 14% through the first 11 tournaments in 2024 compared to last year.

Scott Warfield, PGA Tour vice president of gaming, recently told LSR, “The fan base is there. We have two North Carolina events on the PGA Tour, so there is an opportunity for golf to grow its (sports betting) share.”

Can NC sports betting add to golf boon?

In Colorado, the largest market where golf betting data from the start of last year is available, handle increased 44% from $2.5 million in January 2023 to $3.5 million in January this year.

According to PGA Tour metrics from Vixio, the parent company of GamblingCompliance, golf betting in 2023 increased at a greater rate than total US sports betting handle. LSR data shows a 29% bump in overall 2023 sports betting handle compared to the year before, mainly from newly legalized sports betting states like Ohio and Massachusetts.

Colorado bettors, for example, wagered $59.8 million through the first 10 months of 2023, a nearly 15% increase over the $52.1 million wagered between January and October 2022. In Maryland, golf betting has accounted for $22.8 million in handle since regulators began sharing sport-specific data last June.

Engaging core PGA Tour fans

Warfield said the average age of golf fans is older. However, the hope is an NC sports betting product can attract a younger audience.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage the core fan, and this is one of the ways we believe they can go deeper with their fandom,” Warfield said. “The second is making the sport more available to more people. We are future-proofing our audience and making sure we are utilizing this new legalized activity to bring new fans into the sport.”

Live betting opportunities for golf

Warfield described golf as having many “discreet moments” during a tournament, making it an ideal sport for live betting. The Tour utilizes Golf Event Centre, which FanDuel fully integrated into its app last year.

The live betting product, powered by official scoring data from IMG Arena, displays various statistics on-screen and allows users to make bets shot-by-shot.

Can tech spur in-game betting growth?

Two leading data suppliers in the sports betting industry have been rolling out new in-game betting technology.

Sportradar and Genius Sports recently showed off new growth metrics around client profitability through live betting.

In the fall, Genius CEO Mark Locke told investors the company can grow live betting volume to 70% to 80% through its BetVision technology.

What is BetVision?

BetVision lets users stream NFL games inside the app, focusing heavily on in-game and live betting. During the November call with investors, Locke mentioned mature markets currently see 20% to 25% live betting volume.

BetVision currently only supports NFL games, though a spokesperson told LSR more sports will be announced soon.

PGA Tour sports betting partners

The PGA Tour sees a noticeable boost in golf handle each time a legal sports betting state hosts a tournament. BetMGM, one of the Tour’s other partners, told LSR it saw a spike in golf betting in Ohio during the Memorial Tournament last June.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is a popular event at TPC Scottsdale each February. Last month’s tournament in Arizona was the first at the course since an in-person DraftKings Sportsbook opened in October.

“States like Arizona, Ohio and North Carolina are full of rabid golf fans,” Warfield said. “(Those states) have popular tournaments each year and a ton of golf courses. It’s hard to walk around North Carolina and talk to people who aren’t playing golf.”

Southeast seeing regional growth

In the Southeast, NC sports betting apps will join neighboring legal markets in Virginia and Tennessee. The PGA Tour is headquartered in Florida, another legal Southeast market.

This year, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi are also considering sports betting legislation.

“We have fans all over the country,” Warfield said. He added that he “knows how rabid the fans are in the Southeast for golf and the PGA Tour. It is very exciting when you start to think about what that could mean.”

Gauging NC sports betting success

Warfield told LSR the success of golf betting in the US will be determined by whether it can grab additional market share as more states in the region come online.

“When you turn on a state that has a lot of golf fans and has multiple PGA Tour events, we see a spike in our percentage of handle and ultimately, what we are charged with is trying to cut into the big three. This is a basketball, football, and baseball country from a handle standpoint. That will be our test. The main way we do that is unlocking some of these golf-friendly states (in the Southeast),” Warfield said.