(Reuters) – The PGA Tour’s decision to allow players to be sponsored by certain types of gambling companies was welcomed by golfers on Wednesday who are now free to reach lucrative agreements with casinos and fantasy sports firms.
The PGA Tour’s decision, unveiled on Tuesday, is in line with other North American sports leagues who have embraced gambling sponsorship and follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last May that overturned a 1992 federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.
“I know there are guys out there who have been approached about deals or have potential deals in place,” five-time PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel, who is competing at this week’s Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, said in a report here on the Golf Channel website.
“Deals are coming, and I think the Tour is being proactive.”
The new policy, which is effective immediately, applies to larger casino companies but not firms whose primary purpose is sports betting.
Gambling companies can now also be considered for Official Marketing Partners for all six tours overseen by the PGA tour and tournaments.
Former U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan explained to players the importance of protecting the integrity of golf.
“I feel like the PGA Tour has gotten out front in this, with the integrity courses we took online and with helping us to understand what’s going to be okay and what isn’t going to be,” said McDowell.
“The integrity of our sport is paramount.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury