Citing Saudi Connection, Massachusetts Gaming Regulators Reject LIV Golf Wagering

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By Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

Bay Staters will remain unable to wager on the Saudi-backed LIV Golf after gaming regulators on Tuesday rejected an application to open it up to sports betting ahead of an anticipated merger.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Tuesday, July 11 unanimously rejected a proposal filed by sports betting operator DraftKings to add the breakaway league to other gambling options in the Bay State.

MGC Sports Wagering operations manager Sterl Carpenter told commissioners that the request from DraftKings sought to add LIV Golf to the golf section of the state’s sports betting catalogue before the 2024 season when it is expected to combine with the PGA Tour.

Commissioners mentioned a handful of reasons for shooting down the application and maintaining the status quo, including a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust review of the proposed merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. They also mentioned LIV Golf’s financial support from the government of Saudi Arabia, which has faced allegations of human rights violations.

“For a lot of the reasons that are in the press in terms of the financial backing of the LIV league, to me, I’d feel uncomfortable putting this in our catalogue, even as a LIV free-standing [option], notwithstanding the DOJ investigation of the merger,” said commissioner Eileen O’Brien.

“I, too, am not comfortable putting this in our catalogue right now with all the controversy that surrounds it,” added commissioner Brad Hill.

DraftKings told regulators it did not inform LIV Golf about its attempts to accept bets on the league in Massachusetts because it already allows gambling on it in other states. 


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