Golf is easily among the most popular sports in the world. From friends catching up on the course over a few beers to professional golfers who make their livelihoods playing in tournaments, the sport attracts people from every corner.
And as is the case with many other sports, many people place wagers on the outcomes of games—both casual and professional. This could be as small as a bet amongst friends over who will buy the first round of drinks to the millions of dollars spent on legal sports betting for each tournament.
This recognized pastime of the game has grown in recent years and has led to the sport being closely tied to the gambling industry. In this article, we’ll look at exactly how the golf gambling industry is growing and the new ways that the gambling community has gotten involved with the beloved sport.
The first and most apparent way golf is making waves in the gambling industry is the number of legal bets on golf games and tournaments that occur each year. The number of wagers placed using online sportsbooks and casinos has grown steadily and is now becoming one of the most common ways to bet.
The root cause of this, aside from the game’s popularity, is the changes in American gambling laws that have taken place since 2018. Many states have begun allowing legal gambling on sporting events, while others have legalized it but are still working on the framework to ensure that betting is safe and fair.
Because of these legal changes, fans of the sport have been placing wagers on their predictions with legal sportsbooks. This has replaced many bets between friends and family. This change has led to an estimated $4.5 – $5 billion being spent on golf wagers in 2021 alone. This figure comprises around 8.5% of the year’s total revenue from sports betting in the USA.
Adding to the surge of online bets is the affiliation of the PGA with online casinos like those found on casinosource.co.uk. In January 2022, PGA signed a deal with PointsBet to supply live betting odds on the famed PGA Tour. This official affiliation attracted players who may have been dubious about online betting initially.
It also turbocharged another major event that further propelled the golf gambling industry.
Affiliations and Sponsorships
Shortly after the laws regarding sports betting were amended, another change occurred. PGA released a statement that allowed casinos and gambling organizations to become official sponsors of tournaments and pro golfers.
This had some significant knock-on effects when it came to the sport. The first notable effect was that casinos were allowed to sponsor tournaments. Because of the influx of sponsorship, prize money for winners enjoyed a sharp increase—which also attracted more pro golfers. It also allowed casinos to advertise their brands during the tournament, thus attracting more punters to their sites.
The second notable reaction to this change was how pro golfers receive sponsorship. These master players were officially allowed to accept sponsorship from casinos and gambling bodies. The PGA stated that they encouraged players to receive support, which increased the number of players backed by gambling organizations.
The most notable example of this is PGA Tour pro golfer Ryan Moore. While MGM Resorts have long since sponsored him, his sponsorship had to be nameless and silent. With the regulation changes, MGM has become an OMP (official marketing partner) and can now openly advertise its brands as a name sponsor of the famous golfer.
Stepping off the course and more into the traditional world of gambling, golf has also grown within online casino game libraries. Considering the sport’s popularity, some golf-themed slot games have always existed. However, there is now a wider variety than ever designed by the best developers in the industry.
Just some examples of these include Golden Tour by Playtech, The Argyle Open by Microgaming, and Hole in Won Slot by Rival Gaming.
These games let casino players experience the thrill of the game using golf-themed icons, bonuses, graphics, and even sounds. They also help change people’s lives with the big jackpots they offer to lucky winners.
Estimated Future Growth
While it is hard to predict what will happen in the future, the growth of golf in the gambling market over the last few years indicates a sharp increase. Therefore, using estimates and predictions, the golf gambling industry is undoubtedly set to grow.
In 2021, the global sports betting market was valued at $89.65 billion. The USA accounted for around $53 billion, or roughly 59% of this. As mentioned above, about 8.5% of this value was solely golf betting (if working on the figure of $4.5 billion for the year).
Typical estimates state that global betting on sports will grow to $114.34 billion by 2026. Using the exact percentages as 2021 and assuming that 59% of this will occur in the USA, this will equate to approximately $67.46 billion. If we believe that 8.5% of this is golf betting, that translates into a minimum of $5.73 billion.
Comparing this estimation of $5.73 billion to the $4.5 billion from 2021, golf gambling will increase by almost 22% over just four years.
Golf betting doesn’t seem to be slowing down in any way. In fact, as more states allow sports betting, this industry will only continue to grow. The newfound support for casinos and gambling providers as sponsors by groups like the PGA also contributes to the rapid expansion of this niche.
If future predictions for the industry do ring true, then the golf gambling industry will continue to make waves for years to come.