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If feds allow betting, Tour prepared to go all in

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The PGA Tour will support regulated gambling on its competitions if the Supreme Court overturns a federal ban on betting.

Earlier this season the Tour began an integrity program that players had to complete and has been working with a firm, Genius Sports, to monitor betting on tournaments and players.

“Over the last year and a half we worked on developing an integrity policy,” said Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration. “That policy was put in place to educate all of our constituents in the world of sports betting and the potential for corruption that might exist and to put in place a set of rules and regulations that clearly defines someone’s responsibilities if they have direct access to our competition.”

Levinson explained that the Tour has been working with the NBA and Major League Baseball to assure that the types of betting that might be allowed protect the customer as well as the integrity of the competition.

“It’s important that the types of bets and the types of markets that are created around our competitions are ones that don’t increase the risk of corruption,” Levinson said. “By having some say in the types of bets that are offered we feel we can mitigate the risk that can be posed.”

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Specifically, Levinson said the Tour would want to avoid bets that focus on a negative outcome, such as a player missing a fairway or a green or making a specific score.

The circuit would want whatever form of betting that states would allow to include the use of official, Tour-generated statistics to ensure accuracy and promote fan engagement through the various new platforms legalized sports betting would create.

The Tour is also keen to take advantage of any commercial opportunities that legalized gambling – four states are exempt from the federal ban on sports betting, including Nevada, but it’s only allowed in that state – will surely produce.

“If betting operators are going to be profiting off our competitions then we believe that the pro leagues are entitled to do that as well,” Levinson said.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision before its July recess, and Levinson said the court could rule any day.