Golf: the Next Big Sport for the Betting Industry

Bets placed on golfing events have grown massively over recent years, and with the Ryder Cup approaching the trend looks set to continue that way.

It is thought there will be a significant spike in golf betting during the Ryder Cup, because of the popularity of the event among the wider public who may not usually watch other golf tournaments. The industry itself is looking at betting on the sport as being a lucrative way to boost income following a fall in revenue resulting from fewer people watching the sport on sponsored platforms.

Betting companies are set to look into launching a wider range of products that would be accessible to casual golf viewers who tune into major events such as the Ryder Cup, and furthermore offer complex odds for punters who are more aware of the intricacies of the game.

Increasing viewer engagement in golf

Industry insiders are looking at the Supreme Court’s ruling from May on sports betting as an opportunity to increase viewer engagement in sports that had previously only been followed passively.

According to George Pyne, founder and CEO of Bruin Sports Capital: “You’re 19 times more likely to watch an event if you’re betting on it. So the engagement of those people that are going to be gambling is going to increase avidity.”

Unlike football (soccer), which is the most popular sport for betting worldwide, golf has not yet seen levels of betting reach their peak. Other sports have managed to gain interest in betting; tennis is a prime example of this.

Tennis never used to be popular with sports betting, but it is now the second most popular sport for betting worldwide. Its success is in part down to the number of players involved in a single tournament and the range of different events that can be bet on.

“Think about golf, which has 78 players playing at any given time on a course,” Pyne said. “All of a sudden, golf becomes a lot more engaging to those that care about it. The betting opportunities are off the charts.”

The sport’s large amount of players could allow for interesting betting odds thanks to the variety of possible outcomes. Other factors may also help increase interest, including the fact that Tiger Woods appears to be making something of a comeback following his win at the Tour Championship.

A sport that lends itself well to betting

As early as 2012, gambling industry insiders were looking into the potential to grow the golf betting market.

Mike Murphy of spoke to SBC News about the ability for sports betting to benefit the sport.

He said: “Tales of golfers duking it out on the course with private bets between the players are as old as the sport itself. In the modern day, bookmakers have come up with all sorts of interesting ways to bet on golf despite it being a fairly straightforward, tournament-style form of competition.”

In terms of affiliates maximizing on casual and regular golf viewers, the key according to Murphy is to provide the data that regular watchers want, but offer products that casual viewers can engage in too.

“Affiliates do not necessarily need to be experts in the Ryder Cup specifically in order to put their expertise and insight to good use. A part of being a smart affiliate is knowing where one’s strengths lie and leveraging those strengths to produce high-quality content,” he said.

“For example, if an affiliate isn’t an expert-level golf handicapper, that’s fine. There’s no need to write yet another article full of flimsy predictions and rehashed content from other websites. Plenty of other affiliates will already be producing similar content anyway.”

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