Exclusive: The PGA Tour Revises Policy, Will Allow Gambling Sponsorships

Exclusive: The PGA Tour Revises Policy, Will Allow Gambling Sponsorships article feature image
Credit:

Christopher Hanewinckel, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Justin Rose

  • For the first time ever, the PGA Tour will allow certain sponsorships with gambling entities.
  • This change in policy should open up opportunities not only for the tour and sponsors, but the players as well.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The PGA Tour has informed its members and tournaments of a policy revision that will allow certain sponsorships with gambling entities and spirits brands, The Action Network has learned.

Historically, the PGA Tour had prohibited any association with gambling companies, but the policy revision states that players may be endorsed by these companies, and official marketing partnerships and title sponsorships may exist in the U.S. with any whose primary purpose isn’t sports betting.

This also includes daily fantasy sponsorships for the first time.

“Because of the Supreme Court’s decision last year, and because of the direction that we see legalized, regulated sports betting going in this country, and just because of the public perception toward gaming, we’ve made the decision to remove a great deal of the prohibitions on gambling sponsorships in our sport,” said Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration.

Levinson also spoke of the economic opportunities, not only for the PGA Tour and its tournaments, but for the players involved.

“These are entertainment companies that have the ability to reach out to their own customer base and help tournaments reach larger audiences,” he continued. “They can do unique things at tournaments, and they’re very interested in our athletes. So from an economic perspective, obviously there’s great opportunity. It also shows that we are engaged in this discussion about sports betting. We’ve been out there now for almost a year, meeting with state leaders and trying to make sure that the principles that we like to see in new legislation are included. We’re protecting our organization as much as possible.

“We feel that being partners with the companies that are operating sports betting will actually benefit our sport from an integrity perspective, because we will be ensuring that there is a transparent sharing of information. If they see an issue, they’re going to tell us about it; they’re not just going to tell their state regulator, they’re going to have an obligation to tell us.”

Kevin Streelman, a player director on the PGA Tour’s policy board, echoed that sentiment.

“We try to maximize our potential and maximize our opportunities for our players and our business going forward,” Streelman said. “With the direction the Tour is going on the legalized gambling side of things, it’s good for all parties to try and maximize earning potential and new business relationships for everyone involved.”