The rise of golf betting in UK

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 14, 2022 10:47

Until a few years ago, golf playing was restricted to professional players, business people, politicians, and diplomats. Today, the golfing scene has changed drastically, so much so that the game is becoming one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom. This shift is mainly due to the growing interest in golf by the younger generations and the benefits it offers to punters and UK sports betting sites not on Gamstop.

The multitude of competitions organised and played across the world happening all the year-round is another element that has contributed significantly towards the enhancement of interest in the game. With the increase of interest in the game, came new betting opportunities for punters. In addition, to the usual betting avenues like football and horse racing, bettors can now easily bet on golf games and tournaments.

It is interesting to note that in 2021 more people were playing golf than the previous year. In fact, there was a percentage increase of 12% of people playing golf than the previous year (2020). The stigma that golf is the game of the rich, powerful and privileged started to melt away as more and more common people are getting involved in the sport. Due to more widespread media coverage, many others are starting to get interested in the game.

The history and rise of golf as a sport

Golf as a sport traces its origins in Scotland. During the Middle Ages, people were probably practising a similar and rudimentary game. Eventually, the game evolved, and in the 1800s, the rules for the game began to be formalised.

The British Masters Golfing tournament is an event in the United Kingdom’s sporting history that dates back to 1946. Holding this tournament for three successive years and sponsored by one of the United Kingdom’s leading betting firms served as a reminder that the country and golf have been associated with betting since the eighteenth century. Clubs like Muirfield had bet books in which bets for money and a pint of beer or other forms of drinks were recorded by an official known as the Clerk to the bet or Recorder.

The regulation of golf and betting

Betting became more regulated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when off-course gaming was legalised in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. It became more professional with the arrival of the internet and the advent of online bookies.

Basically, golf remained an amateur sport until half a century ago. This does not mean that there was no money involved in the game. History tells us that the wealthy would, on many occasions, encourage the best golfers of the time to visit their courses and tournaments in exchange for a substantial amount of money. They even started betting on which player was the best fit to win games and tournaments.

This early form of betting concept continued until, eventually, bookies started to appear on the high streets taking wagers and bets on golf. The coming of technology and widespread media coverage contributed to the increase in the popularity of the game. Online betting became a reality, making golf betting by punters much easier and more popular.

Golf bets in the United Kingdom

Betting on golf in the United Kingdom is substantial and ranges from £400 million to £500 million every year. Golf is considered the fifth most important sport in the country, and football tops the table, followed by horse racing, dog racing, and tennis.

The early bookies who used to take bets on golf were relatively uneducated on the game’s mechanics, and many did not know the time of day on what was going on in the world of golf. Punters were sometimes much better informed than bookies on golfers, their capabilities, and their current playing form. One punter who was estimated to have an annual turnover of £70,000 in bets and winnings once found himself much better informed than his bookie and was able to place a bet on a golfer to win a tournament after that particular tournament had already finished!

How sponsorships shaped golf tournaments and betting

Sponsorships of golfing activities by betting firms and platforms were introduced on the European Tour. The first sponsor was Coral which sponsored the 1980 Welsh Golf Classic. The previous year (1979), the Welsh Golf Classic was a total financial disaster, and the organisers had to think hard about finding ways and means to make the tournament a financial success. Coral’s sponsorship of the event for three successive years in 1980, 1981, and 1982 proved to be the perfect answer to the Welsh tournament becoming a success in all aspects.

Drafting policies to solidify the sport

Immediately after the European Tour, the Golf Integrity Policy was drafted and introduced. It was rigorously implemented. The new policy forbodes its members and related personnel, including management teams, caddies, coaches, backroom staff, spouses, and partners, from betting or instructing others to bet on any professional or elite amateur golf tournaments anywhere across the globe. The policy was and still is an instrument against corruption and illicit betting in golf.

That said, betting on golf is not an easy task. On the contrary, predicting who will be the winner is challenging. Punters betting on tournaments held in the United Kingdom should be wealthy, well knowledgeable, and informed on what is happening in the world of golf. In the first instance, they need to know exactly which is the best and most appropriate platform to bet with. Not all operators were born equal; finding the right operator is crucial and essential.

Golfing events to lookout and wager on

In 2022, golf punters and lovers will be spoilt for choice regarding golfing events happening in the United Kingdom. As golf is getting more popular, punters are looking forward to placing bets on The Maters or The British Open. It will be challenging to place the correct bet as odds can be in the region of 10/1 or even higher. The fact is that it is extremely difficult to predict who could win one stand-alone tournament. True, one player might seem better, but on a given day or week, their form can differ and outpace everybody else.

Golf and golf betting has come a long way since the Middle Ages. The prospects of further flourishing look bright for the betting platforms and punters.

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 14, 2022 10:47
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