Massachusetts gaming regulators have rejected a request from DraftKings to offer regulated wagers on the controversial, Saudi government-backed LIV Golf. Members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission were unanimous in their decision and did not mince words when it came to describing exactly why events in the upstart golf tour will not be available to Massachusetts players.
It’s unclear why DraftKings waited so long to add LIV Golf to their bet slips. The Saudi-backed venture was first launched in 2021 and has been hosting events worldwide regularly since then. DraftKings front office and legal teams must certainly have known about the controversies surround the league, not the least of which are allegations that no one should be betting on LIV Golf since players are, more or less, paid up front whether they win or not. (Though LIV officials say that isn’t really the case.)
More on the minds of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission was the Saudi Government’s appalling human rights record. Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the Saudi Government has been accused of a laundry list of human rights violations, including the murder of journalist Jamal Kashogi.
“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 catalog, even as a LIV free-standing [option], notwithstanding the DOJ investigation of the merger,” Commissioner Eileen O’Brien said in comments reported on by 10 Boston.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has previously denied requests to wager on the Boston Marathon and fringe sports such as slap fighting.