PGA Tour Suspends Two Korn Ferry Players Over Golf Betting

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The PGA Tour has suspended two players from its developmental league, the Korn Ferry Tour, for gambling violations.

Vince India and Jake Staiano were suspended back in September as a result of violations of the Tour’s anti-gambling policies. But it took until late last week for the PGA to announce the news.

India received a six-month suspension starting from September 18, while Staiano’s three-month suspension began on September 11. Both players were found to have participated in golf betting on PGA events, but not on any event they were involved in.

The specific details regarding the nature of their bets or how they were caught have not been disclosed by the PGA Tour. This marks the first time the Tour has announced such suspensions since the gradual legalization of U.S sports betting across various states began in 2018.

India and Staino’s Careers

Vince India, 34, has been part of the Korn Ferry Tour since 2011, earned $60,922 this season, and is currently ranked 126th. On the other hand, Jake Staiano, 26, joined the tour two years ago and does not appear on the money list.

India made the top cut 10 times out of 22 Korn Ferry events in 2023, with a best finish of 21st. Staino made three top finishes out of eight events.

If they decide to return to the tour after their suspensions, they will need to secure their spots through Q-school.

These latest suspensions are another example of the ongoing challenges faced by sports organizations in regulating and monitoring betting activities among their players, staff, and fans. In 2023 especially, sportsbooks have made more efforts to intertwine sports betting with the pro sports leagues, such as DraftKings’ recent addition to the list of Arizona retail sportsbooks with its PGA Scottsdale venue.   

With such integration continuing at pace, these challenges may only become more prevalent in golf betting. Earlier in 2023, one of the PGA Tour’s top golfers, Max Homa, was heckled by a sports bettor in the crowd during a crucial putt at the BMW Championship in Illinois.

Gambling Suspensions in 2023 Continue

Throughout 2023, other big U.S. sports leagues have also faced problems with athletes and staff violating gambling policies.

The NFL has taken action against 10 players so far this year, handing out suspensions for breaking league wagering rules.

Sports betting in Iowa was also hit by a controversies over student athletes, including Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers. Many of these players not only violated NCAA rules, but also broke state laws by betting while being under age 21.

In Alabama, Crimson Tide Baseball head coach Brad Bohannon was fired after communicating with a bettor visiting Ohio retail sportsbook venues, who attempted to place a $100k bet at a BetMGM Sportsbook in Cincinnati.

Then, just this week, the NHL announced its decision to suspend Ottawa’s Shane Pinto for 41 games because of violations of the league’s gambling policy. There is no suggestion Pinto bet on any NHL games, however.

Throughout all of this, though, sportsbooks and sports leagues have continued their integration. Both the NFL, with DraftKings, and the NBA, with FanDuel, have offered official season streaming pass promotions for sports bettors.

Earlier this month, DraftKings even launched an official merch collaboration with the NBA.

The closer collaborations with gambling even extend to casino gaming, with Aristocrat’s range of official NFL-themed slot machines now available on casino floors across the U.S.

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