With the Georgia Sports Betting Integrity Act, SB 57, formally introduced by the Senate during the General Assembly, the legislature has made its first official move to establish a legal framework for sports betting in the state.
SB 57 specifically identifies 18 entities that would be eligible for sports betting licenses. This includes “professional sports teams” that operate in the state of Georgia.
With this rolling series, we’ll take a look at what may lie ahead and what future partnerships with sportsbooks may look like. This week? We head to picturesque Augusta, Georgia, to explore Augusta National’s potential as a Georgia sports betting venue.
An unlikely ally in change-averse Augusta
Augusta National’s support for sports betting was more of a polite golf clap than roaring applause. However, for such a buttoned-up, conservative institution, that’s about as close as you can get to a ringing endorsement.
Augusta wraps itself in its traditions as close as green jackets. The push for legal sports gambling in Georgia to see any momentum from its decision-makers should be seen as a victory in itself.
It’s true that beer, gambling, and golf make exceptional bedfellows, but the Masters lives a bit on its own plane of existence on the PGA Tour. Steeped in history and pageantry, Augusta National is notoriously averse to change. The club refused to admit women as full-time members until 2020, for instance. Members of its leadership quietly signing on in support of last year’s failed legislation was as close as you could come to a public relations ace on Hole 12.
The Georgia Sports Betting Integrity Act explicitly earmarks 18 Type 1 gambling licenses for:
- Any professional sports team, or its designee;
- A sports governing body that holds one or more sanctioned annual golf tournaments at the highest level of professional golf in this state as determined by the commission and one or more other sanctioned annual golf tournaments in the state;
- The owner of a facility in this state that has held an annual invitational golf tournament for professional and amateur golfers for at least 30 years
In essence: They’re betting on buy-in from the likes of Augusta National Golf Club, and presenting legislation that would give them one of the first bites of the
The PGA Tour has a robust sports betting framework in place
Should Georgia lawmakers pass a sports betting bill, the PGA Tour already has multiple partnerships in place with online sportsbooks. This includes a deal with FanDuel, which was recently extended through 2024. The PGA Tour provides these outlets with access to its player statistical data, as well as branded marketing and advertising opportunities.
In the case of TPC Scottsdale, the tour joined forces with DraftKings to construct an on-site sportsbook. Work began in earnest last May, and is expected to be complete by this fall. It will be the first on-site sportsbook at any of the PGA Tour’s 48 annual tournaments.
With the Masters, however, you can likely rule out a retail venue to place your wagers — or don’t hold your breath, at least. You can snag a pimento cheese sandwich to-go for a buck or so. However, with a location defined by its customs, it stands to reason the PGA would opt for a less visible integration of sports betting should SB 57 pass.
What does sports betting at The Masters look like?
You can expect online sportsbooks that have partnered with the PGA to utilize the Masters’ iconography on their platforms. This could potentially include hole-centric prop bets to accompany your standard money lines and parlays. Odds on John Rahm putting one in the drink at the Golden Bell? Xander Schauffele for Eagle to start Amen Corner?
It’s betting on golf, so the opportunities are endless for placing a friendly wager. On-site, however? It’s probably not in the cards. Those bets will likely need to be placed on your phone, under Augusta National Golf Club’s obscuring veil.
The Masters is one of the world’s premier sporting events, one that draws thousands of members to attend and millions to watch live. It’s already a massive sports gambling draw. Should the State of Georgia enact SB 57, it will add a layer of intrigue to an event that’s historically hesitant to change.
Like Tiger Woods against the field in 2020, it’s sure to be an intriguing dance worth watching. One between shifting societal winds on sports gambling and a paragon of the PGA Tour.