The PGA’s New Commissioner, Jay Monahan, Supports Legalized Gambling
The PGA Tour’s new commissioner, Jay Monahan, said in a recent interview that he welcomes legal gambling on the pro golfing tour. In an interview with Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner, Monahan said gambling is something he is “looking at”.
Jay Monahan’s stance sounds much like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s stance towards US gambling. Like Adam Silver, Jay Monahan is taking over for a longtime commissioner. Tim Finchem has been the head of the PGA Tour for the past 22 years, but recently retired.
Comparison to Daily Fantasy Sports
In his interview, the new PGA commissioner compared traditional sports betting to daily fantasy sports. In doing so, Monahan represented the attitude of a new generation of American game enthusiasts. A generation ago, major sports commissioners could make the argument that legal sports betting would undermine the public’s trust in the outcome of NBA, NFL, and Major League Baseball games.
These days, that argument holds less weight. Gambling in general is more present in people’s lives, because state lotteries, multistate lottery associations, and tribal gaming casinos assure that gambling is in many US communities.
Smartphone Sports Bets
The appearance of online gambling and smartphone betting means sports bets are available to anyone with Wifi. While those forms of gambling are unregulated and unlicensed, the idea that a ban on brick-and-mortar gambling keeps people from sports betting is laughable. Perhaps it always was laughable, because of the presence of local bookmakers (bookies). The American Gaming Association says 97% of sports betting in the country is done through bookies or illegal online sportsbooks.
Thus, Jay Monahan appears to be part of a new generation of pragmatic sports commissioners. He joins Adam Silver and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred as leaders who see legal sports betting as inevitable. With that assumption, the commissioners’ mission is to assure legal sports betting generates revenue streams for their leagues.
Points to EPL Betting in the UK
Monahan told Rich Lerner, “Is it something we look at? Absolutely, we always look at something that other sports are doing, having success with, trends in the industry. It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on up to this point in time.
“You look at DraftKings and FanDuel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there.”
The head of the PGA Tour said legalization is going to require vision and hard work, to craft the right kind of laws. Anti-sports betting groups are likely to emerge, whether from concerned citizens, problem gambling activists, or potential business rivals (Las Vegas sportsbooks). Monahan said, “There’s some complexity, and that complexity has held us back from moving forward. But we will look at it and have an open mind towards it.”
Jay Monahan’s PGA Tour Changes
The gambling reforms are just one of the issues Jay Monahan wants to address in pro golf. He has talked about changing the timing of the majors, shortening playoff rounds in tournaments, and speeding up the pace of play to make the game more watchable on television. The new commissioner appears ready to tweak the PGA, to attract more viewers.
Sinking Television Ratings
There’s a reason for that. The PGA’s television ratings have been down sharply in the last couple of years. Many attribute the slippage to the end of Tiger Woods’ dominance, or seeming relevance, in tournament play. The shrinking ratings is concerning, because the PGA Tour has a number of interesting young stars: players like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spiel, and Jason Day.
Anything to bring in revenues without causing too much disruption should be considered. Gambling is one of those ways. Thus, those wanting to lobby the US Congress to change sports betting laws might have a new advocate in Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour.
Jay Monahan Bio
Jay Monahan is the 46-year old executive who became the head of the PGA Tour on January 1, 2017. Monahan attended Trinity College in Hartford and was a Division III Academic All-American as a dual-sport athlete (golf and hockey).
Jay Monahan graduated with a masters degree in sports management in 1995. He was a global marketing manager for EMC Corporation, overseeing the former ADT Skills Challenger. In 2002, Monahan joined IMG and became the original tournament director of the Deutsche Bank Championhip. In 2006, he joined Fenway Sports Group as a sponsorship sales director for the Boston Red Sox and NASCAR.
In 2008, Jay Monahan joined the PGA Tour. He lived in Ponte Vedra with his wife and two daughters, and received a promotion to become executive director of the Players Championship. Eventually, he became SVP of Business Development, Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer, and eventually (in 2014) the Deputy Commissioner of the PGA Tour. From that position, Jay Monahan was the clear successor to Tim Fenchem.
The PGA Tour has had only two commissioners over the past twenty years: Deane Beman and Tim Finchem. Barring anything unforeseen, Jay Monahan should hold his commissioner’s position for many years to come.