PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken Believes We’re Just Scratching The Surface On Ways To Bet On Golf

Posted By Esten McLaren on September 16, 2020
PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken golf betting US Open NBC

The second golf major of 2020 is here with the US Open taking place this week at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. The 120th US Open will mark the beginning of a new era with PointsBet joining the mix as an Official Betting Operator of the PGA Tour. PointsBet also recently signed a five-year deal with NBC Universal to partner on the television broadcast.

The multi-year content and marketing relationship with the PGA Tour gives PointsBet the rights to PGA Tour marks, rights to advertising within Tour media and partner platforms, plus content and video rights. PointsBet and the PGA Tour will work together to deliver pre-game and post-game betting programming and odds-based content to fans and bettors via the Tour’s digital platforms and app.

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The future of golf betting

As one of few top US sportsbooks with its own technology and in-house trading, PointsBet is able to create its own markets and prices. It’s something that allows PointsBet to be,  “ahead of the curve in creating different bet types and experiences,” according to the company’s CEO, Johnny Aitken.

PointsBet was the first sportsbook to offer hole-by-hole in-play (live) betting and reports a growth of 65% in that market in 2020 from the same June-July events last year. In all, PointsBet offers 500% more bet types for PGA Tour events than the industry average.

“I think in-play is the one that’s going to be the grower,” Aitken told TheLines. “In the US in general, about 50% of activity is wagered before a game starts and about 50% is placed after a game starts. I think in three years time that’s flipped and will be more 80% in-play vs. 20% pre-game. I think for golf, golf could even get to 90-10, where 90% of activity is placed during the tournament as opposed to before.”

Aitken says that what we see this year from the PointsBet – PGA marriage will pale in comparison to future years with the deal with NBC just having been announced.

“The types of innovative bet types that can be created can go beyond hole-by-hole betting,” Aitken said. “There’s a near-future where you can offer the longest drive, the nearest to the pin, will the putt go in or not. You think of that incredible putt that (Jon) Rahm sunk in the (BMW Championship) against Dustin Johnson. The ability to bet on those outcomes is how golf’s going to reach a much larger audience.

“Instead of having a traditional ‘Dustin Johnson 10-1 to win the tournament’ prop, you can present that as ‘he has a 9% chance to win the tournament’ and you could integrate those sorts of contextual snapshots throughout the course of the four days,” said Aitken.

ALSO READ: 2020 US Open odds, betting guide

Impact of postponement on 2020 US Open betting

The US Open was initially scheduled for June 18-21 but was pushed back – along with many other tournaments on the 2020 schedule – by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be the second of three golf majors played this calendar year as the PGA Championship took place in August and the Masters will be played in November. The US Open this week and the Masters will be going up against the NFL in the competition for viewers and betting action.

“I personally don’t think the US Open will suffer,” Aitken said of the congested sports schedule. “You’ve got a lot of headline players playing one of the biggest tournaments. We’re expecting numbers to be really, really solid and complement what then should flow into another huge Sunday of NFL.”

The US Open betting favorite at PointsBet has fluctuated between Rory McIlroy, Rahm and Johnson based on results in the marquee events since the PGA Tour returned to play in mid-June. Tiger Woods is also in the field while continuing his chase for record PGA Tour win No. 83, adding to the draw of the US Open as it takes on the NFL.

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