• Executives of the PGA TOUR have gone on record saying the use of data not provided by the Tour is stolen data.
  • ShotLink is a tracking system that is able to determine thousands of data points that can then be sold to sportsbooks.
  • Opponents say that official tour data and official league data isn’t necessary to conduct live betting.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With a new year on the horizon, the PGA TOUR is getting ready to roll out new prop bets for the 2020 season. With the Tour’s new ShotLink technology, those betting on the sport will be able to put money down on each golfer for each shot. That is if sportsbooks want to buy the Tour’s data.

In September, the PGA Tour expanded its partnership with IMG Arena, allowing the company to distribute the Tour’s data to domestic sports wagering operators.

Earlier this month, senior vice president of tournament administration for the PGA Tour, Andy Levinson, went on to say at the Sports Betting USA Conference that any sportsbook using data not provided by the Tour is ‘stolen data.’

The Tour, like the majority of professional sports leagues, has tried to lobby state governments to mandate the use of official league data in their new sports wagering laws. Their main sticking point is that data provided by the leagues create a more accurate and faster way to provide in-game wagering.

But, despite the fact that there are fewer people on average betting on golf, the Tour will have to sell their data for more than other leagues.

The reason being is that, unlike sports stadiums, the Tour has to travel and layout the ShotLink technology everywhere they go. Tour workers have to stretch about three miles of fiber-optic cables around the course and high-speed cameras have to be set up for each event throughout the year.

The Tour will be able to track 25 data points for each shot that each golfer takes. With over a hundred entrants into some of these tournaments, this opens up the possibility for thousands of betting opportunities.

While more betting odds and faster data would be a great bonus to domestic sportsbooks, it is not a necessity to provide in-game wagering on the PGA Tour. Legal sportsbooks offered live betting odds for the Tour this past season and last year without purchasing data from IMG Arena.

So far, only Tennessee and Illinois have had requirements for their sportsbooks to use official league data.

However, other states that will consider legalizing sports wagering in 2020 such as Washington and Missouri, have also conducted hearings recently in which representatives of the PGA TOUR have pushed this mandate.

Judging by the hefty investment the PGA TOUR is making into their data capturing abilities, they will likely try and keep pushing the requirement for their data well into next year.

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