Gambling’s place in golf is being cemented this week in Vegas — in real time

If you have been watching the CJ Cup on the PGA Tour this weekend, you have witnessed something you have never seen before.

No, not Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas. That ultra-, ultra-, ultra-exclusive golf course has been on television before as the site of The Match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

What you are seeing for the first time in a PGA Tour event is live betting odds. And not just running on a crawl at the bottom of the screen or quietly tucked along the side of the picture. These are odds that are being promoted and talked about and updated on a live basis.

As the PGA Tour and other sports begin understanding that there might be a revenue source with accepting gambling as part of the sports fan’s experience, the organizations have started forming partnerships with gambling companies. ESPN and other sports outlets have also begun airing shows devoted entirely to gambling.

But this is the first time that an official PGA Tour event is talking upfront about odds and gambling on air. Yes, The Match in 2018 did have a lot of talk about which player would win this hole or that hole or the match entirely. But that was not an official tour event like the limited-field CJ Cup.

It is appropriate, of course, that the first open talk of gambling on a PGA Tour event is at a tournament in Las Vegas on a course built by casino owner Steve Wynn. You can walk into pretty much any casino in Las Vegas, find the sportsbook and put down a bet on who will win a PGA Tour event that week or even some proposition bets pitting one player against another for the day or the week.

None of this is possible in California, of course, as the state continues to drag its feet badly on legalizing sports gaming in the state. Yes, there are a few ways around that for California residents, but you can’t walk into a sportsbook or in a tribal casino and place a sports bet.

PGA Tour chasing the gambling dollar

The PGA Tour is all in on the sports gambling trend. The tour has deals with Draft Kings, Fan Duel, PointsBet and BetMGM as partners. The tour has said that it may provide an area at tournaments in states where gaming is legal so fans can make a bet on site. And now comes the official talk of odds on the golf course, either to win the tournament outright or to be the low player in a pairing on the day.

It will only be a matter of time before different players on the tour are sponsored by different gambling companies. You can see big billboards springing up the week of a tournament, saying, “Hi, bet on me at BetMGM!”

Should there be a concern about making betting on the PGA Tour or any sports so open and above board? The sports clearly don’t think so. There was a time when sports organizations avoided talk of betting and Las Vegas like the plague. Now the NFL has a team in Las Vegas, as does the

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By: Larry Bohannan
Title: Gambling’s place in golf is being cemented this week in Vegas — in real time
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Published Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2020 13:53:47 +0000

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