Sports bettors in Ontario are no longer able to wager on UFC events, as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued an order to all operators in the province to stop offering and accepting bets on UFC events due to integrity concerns.
Effective immediately, all registered sports betting operators in Ontario can no longer offer UFC event wagering as the AGCO states that the fixtures don’t meet its betting integrity requirements.
In the Commission’s registrar’s standards, it states that, when offering betting products on events, operators must specifically ensure that:
“For sporting events being bet on, the event must be effectively supervised by a sport governing body which must, at minimum, prescribe final rules and enforce codes of conduct that include prohibitions on betting by insiders; and
“There are integrity safeguards in place which are sufficient to mitigate the risk of match-fixing, cheat-at-play, and other illicit activity that might influence the outcome of bet upon events.”
The AGCO noted that, contrary to registrar’s standards, “the UFC does not prohibit all insiders from betting on UFC events, which could include an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals, or other persons with access to non-public information”.
The regulator added that, in recent weeks, it has learned about publicized allegations of UFC betting integrity and suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
Taking this information into account, the AGCO is stopping betting on UFC events with Ontario operators out of public interest, and will only reverse its decision should UFC betting integrity show signs of improvement.
“The Standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other integrity issues,” commented Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO of the AGCO.
“This is not a decision we take lightly, knowing the popularity of UFC events in Ontario’s sports books. However, the risks of insider betting on event and wagering integrity should be highly concerning to all. It certainly is to us.
“We will continue to work with gaming operators, the OLG, iGaming Ontario, and UFC to ensure that wagering on UFC events meets the AGCO’s Standards.”
Recently, UFC introduced a new policy that bans its fighters from betting on UFC fights.
Updating the athlete code of conduct policy, UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell sent out a letter to fighters and their teams banning them and their close associates from betting on UFC events. The policy change was made to fall in line with US sports betting regulators.
UFC has also acknowledged concerns and is investigating the betting integrity of the fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbiek. Minner’s coach, James Krause, is also facing scrutiny from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, who have told the state’s licensed sportsbooks to no longer offer betting on any fight Krause is involved in.