PGA Wants in on the Money: Joins NBA, MLB in Push for Official Data

April 13, 2018 280 Reads
PGA Tour

The PGA Tour is betting on big data.

Over the past few weeks, they expressed their support of USsportsintegrity.com, a new website launched by sports-data behemoth Genius that would track all wagering from legal sports books around the country. The site features a video interview with PGA SVP or Tournament Administration Andy Levinson, who waxed dryly about sports betting and integrity.

“Integrity is a fundamental tenant in the game of golf. Our athletes call penalties on themselves,” he said with rather catatonic excitement. “If regulation would require more reporting and transparency from the gaming operators, then that would be a positive for all sports.”

Leagues say big data protects game

Levinson went on to say that big data is a tremendous resource for the PGA, announcers and the players themselves. Ball speed, drive apexes, greens-in-regulation, and a litany of other data points are the engine that dries player analysis, good commentary and, apparently, the integrity of the PGA as well as the MLB and NBA.

If you’re having a hard time understanding how good data relates to sports betting, you aren’t alone. The missing factor here is the belief that illegal sports books use unofficial data — data that could push bettors to place money based on data that just isn’t accurate. Crap in, crap out, basically, official-data proponents say.

What the leagues really mean: We get paid when you use our approved data providers

The NBA, MLB and PGA have expressed their desire to see official data worked into sports betting legislation on a state-by-state basis.

While USsportsintegrity.com makes the concept of official data seem warm and fuzzy, there are those who would argue it’s anything but.

  • For example, their argument is partly based on the fact that gremlins of bad data run rampant through illegal betting economies. This isn’t exactly an airtight argument, as sports betting analysts have noted that the damage done by “unofficial” data among illegal sports books isn’t the problem that it is.
  • Second, the call for legislating the use of official data is a roundabout way for the leagues making money. If your state legislator tells you that, as a sports book, you have to use data sources approved by the leagues whose games are generating handle, then you’ll be forced to choose, for example, Genius’s services.

Those services will come at a cost. You pay for the data, Genius makes money and, most likely, there will be a premium worked into that price that will go directly to the leagues.

What about the integrity fee?

The PGA hasn’t made an official statement on the integrity fee that the MLB and NBA are asking for – 1% of the total dollar amount of bets placed.

However, it would be hard to believe that the PGA wouldn’t ask for 1%; why settle for par when an eagle is within grasp, financially speaking?