Massachusetts to Consider TGL Golf Featuring Tiger Woods as Sports Betting Option

Written By Dan Holmes on May 15, 2024
Massachusetts TGL Betting & eSports

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) has delayed a vote to approve BetMGM’s request to allow wagering on TGL Golf. The regulatory body chose to defer a possible vote until its legal counsel can examine the impacts of permitting betting on esports.

TGL Golf (Tomorrow’s Golf League) will commence its first season next January. The competition involves both the use of a golf simulator and actual play when the ball is within 50 yards of the cup. Before Massachusetts sportsbooks can offer betting on the league, however, the MGC must first decide whether or not the league qualifies as an esport.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission delays adding TGL Golf to sports betting catalog

As is their habit, the MGC erred on the side of caution in a hearing held on May 9. An agenda item existed for a request by BetMGM Sportsbook Massachusetts to add TGL Golf to the Sports Wagering “Event” Catalog. But, following limited discussion, the commission tabled the topic, with interim chair Jordan Maynard asking the legal counsel to gather an opinion on the matter.

The MGC is concerned with how it would regulate an event that includes virtual elements. The Commonwealth has not specifically permitted such esports wagering within its sports betting regulations.

First, MGC must consider definition of esports

Massachusetts law permits the MGC to regulate sports betting in the Commonwealth. However, the term “esports” is not explicitly used in the language that gives the commission its authority. The law does not prohibit esports wagering either, which may imply that the MGC can add such events to the sports wagering catalog.

As such, BetMGM’s request meets all of the minimum requirements for addition to the Event Catalog. According to the MGC Sports Wagering division, it “has no reservations approving this league be added to the event catalog.”

Now, the four-person commission will need to vote it up or down.

TGL Golf League: Tiger Woods scheduled to compete

TGL Golf, which is partnered with the PGA Tour, is grabbing headlines with its marquee celebrity golf names. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler are among the golfers slated to compete in the six-team league. Teams will represent Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Jupiter Links, the Bay Area, and Atlanta. Most teams also have a specific partnership with a famed golf club. Woods, NBA stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank have ownership stakes. The prize purses are expected to be significant.

Players in the TGL Golf League will play 15-hole matches, with tee shots and any shots outside of 50 feet from the flag hit into a simulator screen. “Real” golf shots will be played on a state-of-the-art “Green Zone,” which is planned to be a 3,800-square-foot golfing surface resting on a 41-yard turntable at SoFi Center at Palm Beach State College in Florida. There will be 600 actuators beneath that surface to alter the slope of the greens.

According to an information packet supplied to the MGC, Massachusetts is one of 11 jurisdictions where a BetMGM has requested addition of the TGL Golf League to a sports wagering catalog. So far, these states have approved TGL Golf betting:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Puerto Rico

By Massachusetts law, anyone can make a request to add a sport or event to the catalog. Requests have come from sports betting operators, sports leagues themselves, and athlete associations in the past. In 2023, the MGC denied a request to add LIV Golf. Last month, the MGC added women’s professional volleyball via the Pro Volleyball Federation.

Photo by Dreamstime / PlayMA
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Staff Writer for PlayMA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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