Ohio bettors can now place their bets on LIV Golf tournament events.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission approved the new professional golf tour to be added to the state’s Event and Wager Catalogue in late April.
Ohio sportsbooks can now offer odds and take bets on LIV Golf events, including LIV Golf Tulsa, which runs May 12-14 at Oklahoma’s Cedar Ridge Country Club, and LIV Golf DC, which is scheduled for May 26-28 at Trump National Golf Club Washington D.C in Northern Virginia.
Not all Ohio sportsbooks currently offer LIV Golf betting
While Ohio sportsbooks are now cleared to offer LIV Golf betting, not all of the 17 sportsbooks operating in the state since sports betting launched on Jan. 1 have added imminent LIV events to their offerings.
Several sportsbooks are currently accepting bets in a variety of markets for this week’s LIV Golf Tulsa tournament, including Bet365 Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, Hard Rock SportsBook and betJACK Sportsbook.
But Ohio bettors looking to place a bet on LIV Golf Tulsa will find no mention of that tournament — or any other LIV event — at some other Ohio sportsbooks, including market leaders DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook, as well as Betfred Sportsbook, betPARX Sportsbook and PointsBet Sportsbook.
Most of those sportsbooks that currently do not have LIV Golf wagering available do otherwise offer odds on a full slate of golf tournaments, including events this week like the PGA’s AT&T Byron Nelson tournament, the LPGA’s Cognizant Founders Cup and the DP World Tour’s Soudal Open in Belgium.
LIV Golf is a relatively new — and controversial — league
LIV Golf’s inaugural season was in 2022. The league’s name (the Roman numeral for 54) refers to the number of holes played — 54 vs. the 72 holes played in the other major tournaments.
Created as a rival to the PGA, LIV Golf was immediately controversial because it is bankrolled by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund. Saudi Arabia has been accused of repeated human rights violations, and critics have accused the Saudi government of attempting to help remake its image with LIV Golf.
LIV Golf — which signed its first TV broadcasting deal ahead of this season with The CW — lured several PGA golfers away with huge contracts, including notable players like Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson. In response, the PGA banned all LIV players from participating in PGA Tour events.
With its approval on April 25, Ohio joined just a handful of states that currently allow LIV Golf betting, including Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada and Oregon.
Even in states that have sports betting but don’t yet allow wagering on LIV Golf events, bets can still be placed on LIV golfers. LIV players are still able to participate in all four Majors, including April’s Masters Tournament, which saw LIV Golf’s Mickelson and Koepka tie for second behind PGA golfer Jon Rahm.
Regulators have been slow to approve LIV Golf betting
In the U.S., states have been slow to give clearance for betting on LIV Golf, likely due in part to the league’s newness.
To have a league or event added to the OCCC’s catalogue of approved events and wager types, a sportsbook operator must submit a formal request to the OCCC’s executive director.
Much of the criteria for approval the commission considers is related to the sport’s governing body, including the “history of integrity” related to events sanctioned by the governing body and “the quality of the governing body’s documented integrity program.”
TheLines.com reported last year that the relatively low number of states allowing betting on LIV Golf events was because LIV didn’t have an evident governing body or an integrity policy until just before its inaugural season in 2022 began.
OCCC’s catalogue of approved wagers continues to grow
The OCCC’s Event and Wager Catalogue has continued to grow since sports betting’s launch at the start of the year.
While most major golfing entities — including the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Ladies European Tour and the United States Golf Association — are listed as having been approved by the OCCC for wagering on Jan. 1, a few were more recently added.
The Men’s Major Championships (Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, The Open Championship) were approved and added to the Event and Wager Catalogue on March 30, just days before the start of the 2023 Masters.
NCAA Division I Men’s Golf was added to the catalogue on Feb. 14.
Other more recent additions to Ohio’s Event and Wager Catalogue include:
- NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis (approved April 25)
- World Rugby Cup (April 13)
- Major League Rugby (March 22)
- World Baseball Classic (March 3)