LIV Golf Hits the US, But Few States Allow Betting on Controversial Event

The LIV Golf Invitational Series comes to the US, as 48 players tee off Thursday in Portland, Oregon. However, from a betting perspective, there does not appear to be a lot of action on the event.

Phil Mickelson of the LIV Golf team Hy Flyers GC tees off on the third hold at Wednesday’s pro-am for the LIV Golf Invitational – Portland at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. The main tournament started Thursday, but the event is not available for wagering at many US sportsbooks, as several states have yet to approve requests to offer it. (Image: Jamie Squire/LIV Golf/via Getty Images)

Sports betting is legal and active right now in 30 states and the District of Columbia. However, only a handful of jurisdictions have approved offering wagers on LIV events. That’s led some of the major operators to hold off on it for now.

FanDuel told Thursday that of the states where it’s licensed, only Arizona and Connecticut have given their permission to take bets on the events. Because of that, they’re not offering it right now.

The Portland stop is just the second event for the fledgling global tour. The first took place in London three weeks ago.

Jason Scott, vice president of trading for BetMGM, told in a statement that only three of its states allowed wagering for the first event.

Following the opening event for LIV Golf, we saw limited handle due to limited markets,” Scott said. “That said, we expect more interest as the tour progresses and additional states open markets.” 

Unlike the PGA Tour, which essentially runs year-round and has events nearly every weekend of the year, the LIV Tour is more limited in its inaugural year. There are six more events scheduled through the end of October.

Where LIV Golf is Available for Betting

David Purdum of ESPN reported Wednesday that LIV Golf is also available for betting in Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state. He also reported that Tennessee rejected a request from operators to offer tour events.

Multiple sportsbooks have also made similar requests to the Indiana Gaming Commission, has learned. However, there is no time line for when a decision will be made.

The next event is scheduled to take place July 29-31 at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, outside New York City in Western New Jersey. Neither New Jersey nor New York, two of the largest US legal markets, have yet to approve LIV for wagering.

Differences Between LIV and PGA

The newly launched golf tour has generated controversy due mainly to its backing by Saudi Arabia and how it recruited pro golfers like Phil Mickelson from other tours. Earlier this month, the PGA Tour suspended 17 golfers, including Mickelson, from its competitions after they bolted for LIV.

Besides an individual competition, each event also includes a foursome team competition. Both are low-stroke events and played at the same time. Charl Schwartzel won the inaugural event in London and got $4 million. In addition, Schwartzel played on the winning team with Hennie du Plessis, Branden Grace, and Louis Oosthuizen. They split an additional $3 million for that victory.

There are also other differences between LIV and the PGA. LIV events run three days, or 54 holes. Also, rather than having all players start from the first tee – or first and 10th tees for some events – LIV uses a shotgun start format that puts all the golfers on the course at the same time.

One thing that may hurt wagering on LIV in the US is the lack of a broadcast deal. None of the major networks carry any of the tournaments. The only way to watch it live is through YouTube and Facebook.

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