Is it legal to bet on The Masters golf tournament?

Mar 20, 2024

It’s nearly April and that means one thing for golfers - The Masters. It’s one of the four men’s major golf tournaments each year and is by far the most popular. Tickets to attend the event at Augusta National Golf Club are nearly impossible to obtain, and unless you have a connection your entry will depend on getting lucky in the lottery for passes. 

However, millions more people in the U.S. now have access to betting on The Masters, as currently 38 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized some form of sports gambling. That has led to many asking: is it legal for me to bet on The Masters?

Golf and Sports Betting

PGA TOUR sportsbook partnerships

The Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in spring of 2018, and soon after the PGA TOUR took its first steps into the world of legalized sports betting. In 2019, the PGA TOUR announced a partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook, which marked the first partnership between the TOUR and a sportsbook. It didn’t take long for other sportsbooks to follow, as the PGA TOUR also partnered with FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet in the coming months (Golf Digest). Since then there has been some consolidation in the industry, but the TOUR has also partnered with Bet365 and BetPARX (SBC America).

Sports betting integrations during golf coverage 

If you were to turn on a live golf tournament or pre-tournament coverage these days, you may see some sports gambling integrations in the broadcast. Some of the most popular ways include showing the odds for players to win the tournament. After an important hole or round, the broadcast might show how the odds have changed and the current favorite. In addition, the broadcast may show or mention the odds for a hole-in-one on a certain famous par-3.

The PGA TOUR and NBC Golf also collaborated to produce a “BetCast” - a betting-focused alternate telecast - for the WM Phoenix Open in 2021. It aired simultaneously alongside the traditional telecast and featured betting and golf analysts discussing potential wagering opportunities during play. 

Who is allowed to bet on golf in the United States? 

Age Requirements

The age requirement to legally gamble depends on the state in which you are located. Generally, a person needs to be at least 21 years old to legally gamble in person or online. However, there are a handful of states that require the users to only be 18 years old, including Montana, Rhode Island and Wyoming. 

With that said, you must follow the age restriction rule of the state you are currently located in. For example, that means a 19-year-old from Rhode Island cannot legally bet while visiting New York.

Location Requirements

In the six years since PASPA was struck down, more than three-quarters of the states have legalized gambling in some form, whether it’s in person or online. In total, 38 states have legalized sports betting, with 30 of them allowing online sports betting. Those states include:

Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The nine states that have only legalized in-person betting only are: Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

The 12 states that have yet to legalize any style of sports gambling include: California, Texas, Idaho, Utah, Minnesota, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alaska and Hawaii.

Can pro golfers bet on sports?

Professional golfers are allowed to bet on sports other than golf. Is it legal for a PGA TOUR golfer to gamble on the Super Bowl? Sure. The World Series? Absolutely. The Stanley Cup? Yep. The Masters? Absolutely not. Professional golfers are forbidden from betting on any form of golf tournament. 

In the PGA Tour’s Integrity Program Manual, it has the following included under violations: “Betting on Professional Golf Events. Any Covered Person, directly or indirectly, Betting on the outcome or any other aspect of any PGA Tour Event, any other professional golf competition or any elite amateur golf competition (including Olympic Golf) anywhere in the world (‘Professional Golf Event’).” In summary, professional golfers are legally allowed to bet on all sports except golf.

Legal Sports Betting Platforms and Sportsbooks

North Carolina became the most recent state to legalize sports gambling which raises the tally to 38 states in the country with some form of legal sports betting. Here are some of the most popular legalized sportsbooks in the country.

  • FanDuel Sportsbook: One of the first sportsbooks to offer the Same Game Parlay. FanDuel remains at the forefront of the industry, and that likely won’t be changing anytime soon. It is available for customers in the following states: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VT, VA, WV & WY

  • DraftKings Sportsbook: Along with FanDuel, this Boston-based sportsbook has been a leader in the industry. If you’re looking for some of the fastest real-time odds updates for The Masters, look no further than DraftKings. It is available for customers in the following states: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VT, VA, WV & WY

  • Caesars Sportsbook: Originally just in Las Vegas, Caesars is now available online across the country. With plenty of props for The Masters, Caesars is a popular destination for golfers. It is available for customers in the following states: AZ, CO, IN, IL, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA & WV 

  • ESPN Bet: Once Barstool Sportsbook but now ESPN Bet, the sportsbook offers competitive odds for the outright winners, player props, and more. You can use ESPN Bet in AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV.

  • BetMGM Sportsbook: When you garner the nickname “The King of Sportsbooks”, you’re probably doing something right. BetMGM is one of the most reliable, trustworthy, and safe sportsbooks to use. You can bet on The Masters and all PGA Tour events in AZ, CO, D.C., IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MS, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, TN, VA, WV, and WY.

  • Fanatics Sportsbook: A recent sportsbook to break into the industry is Fanatics. A key difference that Fanatics offers is the ability to use bonuses on Fanatics.com to get shirts, sweatshirts, or jerseys for your favorite team instead of just getting bonus bets. The Masters is available to bet on at Fanatics in CO, CT, MA, MD, NC, PA, TN, OH, KY, VA, and WV.

  • Betr Sportsbook: Although it’s no longer available in Florida, Betr is one of the fastest-growing sportsbooks in the industry. You can gamble on sports on Betr in AK, AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IL, KS, KY, MN, NE, NM, NC, ND, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, VT, WI and WY, & Washington, D.C.

Learn Responsible Gaming before betting on The Masters

Although The Masters golf tournament only happens once a year, it’s important to remember to gamble responsibly. The prestigious tournament lasts for four days, so there are many betting opportunities. There are several key tips to keep in mind before it begins on April 11. 

  • Stick to a unit size (usually 1-4% of your bankroll, which can be thought of as a betting budget)

  • Don’t ever gamble money you don’t have (ex: using credit) 

  • Set limits on how much you gamble each day

  • NEVER chase your losses

  • Avoid gambling under the influence of drugs or alcohol

These are just a few of the tips on how to bet responsibly. By following these suggestions, you can minimize the chances of heading down a dangerous path toward gambling addiction.

Gambling Addiction Help and Treatment

Help is available for anyone who may be struggling with a gambling addiction. Birches Health is an online treatment option that is ready to help you, a friend, or a family member who might be suffering from a gambling disorder or related issue. Along with 100% confidential meetings and a 24/7 care team with specially trained clinicians, Birches Health also offers tailored intake, personalized treatment plans and ongoing care for patients. 

If you believe you or someone else could benefit from the Birches Health offerings, please call (833) 483-3838 or email hello@bircheshealth.com. 

References:

PGA Tour adds betting partnerships with FanDuel, PointsBet and BetMGM | This is the Loop | Golf Digest

bet365 named official betting partner of PGA Tour - SBC Americas

The PGA Tour drew a hard line with gambling suspensions, but not for the reason you think

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