LPGA Takes Swing at Sports Betting Integrity Concerns, Partners With Data Monitoring Company
Posted on: June 13, 2019, 02:37h.
Last updated on: June 13, 2019, 02:37h.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is partnering with Genius Sports to better protect the tour from rogue outside influences linked to gambling.
The LPGA is the latest professional sports league to reach such an agreement with a firm that can properly monitor sports betting markets for suspicious activity. In May of 2019, the US Supreme Court struck down the longstanding federal ban that had limited the legal activity to only Nevada. Regulated sportsbooks have since expanded to Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, and New Mexico.
Sports betting is certainly coming and we’ll have to get our hands around it, so we are very excited to establish an integrity strategy in partnership with Genius Sports,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said.
“In this partnership, we will educate our players, protect our sport, and ensure our competition is guarded against any corrupting influences,” Whan continued. “Sports betting may bring another wave of worldwide sports fans to the LPGA, but it will require us to be protected and supported by experts like Genius.”
The LPGA is the world’s predominant professional golf organization for women. In 2019, it will conduct 33 official money tournaments. The PGA Tour has also partnered with Genius Sports.
Integrity Concerns Validated
The “big four” – NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL – had opposed the legalization of sports betting on concerns that more widespread gambling on their games would lead to higher instances of individuals associated with the gambling markets influencing players in exchange for guaranteed illegal money.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said last year, “Integrity monitoring is a really expensive undertaking. It involves the analysis of massive amounts of data in order to detect patterns in the betting that can be of concern.”
But New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D), whose state led the legal fight against the federal ban, said that’s nonsense. “Their demand begs the question of what they would now start doing to preserve the integrity of their games that they have not been doing for years,” the politician asked.
Sports betting might only now becoming legal in varying states, but the activity has been operated through illegal underground channels for as long as sports have been played.
Sports that rely heavily on a single player’s performance – golf and tennis being perfect examples – could be more prone to outside influences. And women’s golf is presumably at higher risk than the men’s professional tour due to greatly different pay rates.
The No. 125 player on the PGA Tour last year finished with $847,304. That’s roughly 14 times the median household income in America. The No. 125 player on the LPGA Tour finished the 2018 season with $62,580.
A player struggling to make ends meet – theoretically – would be more inclined to accept such a bribe.
“With the growing focus on why sports integrity matters, the LPGA Tour has taken proactive steps to effectively safeguard its tournaments, members, and reputation,” Genius Sports Integrity Operations Director Ben Paterson said.
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