Study Addresses State of Wagering in Golf

Kissimmee, Florida, United States: Golf Datatech has unveiled the first-ever ‘Gambling & Golf Study,’ providing insights into the state of wagering on the game, both during every day recreational play, as well as betting on professional golf tournaments. 

Gambling and golf have always gone hand-in-hand, and betting on the sport has entered a new phase that transcends buddies betting on their weekly match to wagering over the 40-week professional tournament season.

This study provides insights into the current state of this new world order in golf gambling, based on a survey of 1,000 Serious Golfers.

In the United States, gambling on sports is currently legal in 30 States plus the District of Columbia, and an additional five have legalised it but are not yet operational, while 20 States allow online sports gambling.

The American Gaming Association estimates that the 2021 Sports Betting Industry ‘Handle’ (amount wagered regardless of outcome) was just shy of US$53 billion, and Golf Datatech estimates regulated legal betting on professional golf to be in the range of US$4.5-US$5 billion, not including the side betting that takes place on the golf courses among friends every day. 

“There is no participation sport in the United States that is as closely connected with wagering than the game of golf,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech. 

He added: “Most recreational golfers wouldn’t consider playing a round of golf with friends without some kind of bet on the outcome, whether it was for a beer, a US$5 Nassau, or something more significant. 

“In fact, handicaps by their nature are an attempt to level the playing field and allow a +1 handicap and a 15-handicapper to compete head-to-head and still have a friendly match, very often accompanied by a wager.

“With the advent of legalised sports gambling across much of the country, it should come as no surprise that betting on professional golf has grown rapidly. It is more than just a niche category, as many golfers have a voracious appetite for regular ‘action’.

“Televised golf tournaments regularly show the odds for the various outcomes on air, so where gambling was once a shadow industry it’s now commonplace to see the odds at the professional level.

“In fact, while 10% of golfers regularly bet on the pro game, an additional 14% do so during a Major, which has a particular impact this week heading into the PGA Championship.”

Among the highlights of Golf Datatech’s the 2022 ‘Gambling & Golf Study’ include insights into the following:     

  • 84% of total respondents are likely to wager on their own golf game while playing.
  • Younger and better players are most likely to bet on the course, as well as on professionals.
  • The average wager on professional golf is 48% more than they bet on their own game.
  • More than half of all professional golf wagering is done online or via an App.
  • A significant percentage of respondents who wager don’t understand the odds, as well as other insights into both wagering on their own game as well as on professional golf.

Krzynowek said: “Betting on professional golf provides some degree of comfort to the gambler, because they know Tour players are performing every week for a pay cheque, versus a professional athlete with a guaranteed contract who can have an off day and still get paid or choose not to play.

“A golfer’s professional life depends upon performance, making it far less likely for anyone to question the result of any tournament. FedEx points determine where you get to play, and for many, if you get to play at all, so there is very little reason or opportunity for anyone to try and negatively influence the outcome of an event.”

More information on Golf Datatech’s ‘Gambling & Golf Study’ can be found here.

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