- The PGA and the sport of golf are no longer available at sportsbooks in Illinois.
- An integrity issue is what has caused the game to be unavailable for wagers but sportsbooks in Illinois have requested the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) consider bringing golf back to their sports betting menus.
CHICAGO – Again, Illinois takes two steps forward and one step back with their legal sports betting industry, and their most recent step back involves no longer allowing sportsbooks in the state to accept wagers on golfing events.
This is a slippery slope of a topic as they were taking golf wagers up until July when it was realized by lawmakers that the sport of golf does not make the cut for the integrity rule that is written within the law for gambling on sporting events.
The Prairie State allows sports betting operators to accept bets on sports that can adhere to the integrity clause which states that athletes must be able to play in tournaments that provide them more money than the cost of them simply participating.
Illinois Golf Betting
In order to keep with the integrity of the game so that it would be eligible for wagers, would result in a tremendous headache for sportsbooks.
They’d have to go golfer by golfer and see the individual cost of travel expenses and participation for each one of them. After doing a minutia of research, sportsbooks would then need to see if that person was being compensated more than their personalized total figure for any given event.
No Illinois sports betting operator has the time or resources to try and make those lists for any golfing tournament that takes place and there are many of them. The state believes if the integrity of a game cannot be verified, it’s more liable to be “fixed” and therefore is ineligible to be gambled on.
Furthermore, depending on where a golfer lands through their final scores in a tournament becomes a factor for how much money they will make and whether they can cover their own expenses.
Those that land on the bottom of the leaderboard go home emptyhanded of any winnings. This means the cost of their inclusion in the tournament exceeded any compensation they received (being none), putting the integrity of their performance into question if Illinois state law has anything to say about it.
Sports bettors in the Prairie State, and even across the world, have an affinity for the sport. It continues to increase in popularity with each passing year.
In 2020 the PGA embraced shorter distanced golf courses to the excitement of pro golfers and fans. Shorter distanced courses make for a more competitive game between golfers which leads to better wagers and generates an overall vibe more reminiscent of football for viewers.
Not exactly heart attack football but for golf lovers, it’s more of a nail biter all the way to the finish with shorter courses and such great talent swinging out on the green.
With the shorter courses, as well as the outbreak of COVID-19, golf has become much bigger among sports bettors. They were one of the few sports that had events when other major sports were on hiatus from the pandemic, which gave gamblers the opportunity to give the game their full attention.
Now that the sport has a greater following, and with more wagers being placed through legal sports betting outlets more than ever before, it’s a shame that Illinois has pulled it from their menu of sports bets. It has only helped to add to the revenue brought in by state sports betting operations.
Now What For Golf Bettors In Illinois?
The next big tournament for the PGA is the BMW Championship beginning on August 27. There is some hope that golf will be offered by the sportsbooks of Illinois once that event comes around.
Operators in the state have put in formal requests to the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) as of July 23 to allow golf back for sports bettors to wager on.
The required protocol has the IGB wait 30 days before responding to any request which would allow the BMW Championship to be gambled on by golf enthusiasts in Illinois if the board decides to approve it. For now, everyone will just have to wait and see.
Christina has been writing for as long as she can remember and does dedicated research on the newly regulated sports betting market. She comes from a family of sports lovers that engage in friendly bets from time to time. During the winter months, you can find Christina baking cookies and beating the entire staff at Mario Kart…the N64 version of course.