AGCO orders Ontario sportsbooks to hang up the gloves on WBA events

Since December 2023, the commission has been conducting a probe on the WBA.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is requiring licensed operators to adhere to new restrictions.

The AGCO has ordered all Ontario-registered sportsbooks to stop offering betting markets and accepting wagers on all World Boxing Association (WBA) events. The restriction, effective immediately, follows concerns regarding the integrity of WBA-sanctioned matches.

The AGCO believes the WBA is vulnerable to insider betting and match-fixing.

“Ontarians who wish to bet on sporting events need to be confident that those events are fairly run, and that clear integrity safeguards are in place and enforced by an effective sport governing body,” said AGCO CEO and Registrar Dr. Karin Schnarr. “Knowing the popularity of boxing in Ontario, we look forward to reinstating betting on WBA events once appropriate safeguards against possible match-fixing and insider betting have been confirmed.”

The AGCO has been conducting an investigation of suspicious wagering activity within the WBA following a December 2023 fight in Florida between Yoenis Tellez and Livan Navarro.

The match saw suspicious betting patterns on its total rounds market, which were flagged by two unnamed independent integrity monitors. An AGCO-registered iGaming operator also reported suspicious wagering activity on the super welterweight title bout.

According to media reports, Tellez’s manager placed a $110,000 wager at a retail casino on the fight to go over 5.5 rounds. The match ended with a Tellez knockout in the 10th round.

Following its months-long probe, the AGCO has determined that wagers on WBA-sanctioned events fail to meet the Registrar’s Standards for Internet Gaming.

Potential remedies for the WBA in Ontario

The WBA must effectively showcase an ability to supervise its events and comply with the Registrar’s Standards for reinstatement of wagering with Ontario-licensed sportsbooks.

Not all hope is lost for the WBA as the UFC faced similar challenges.

In 2022, the AGCO required sportsbooks to stop accepting wagers on the mixed martial arts promotion for insider betting infractions. The UFC would change its policies while implementing new protocols and within a month the AGCO lifted its wagering restrictions.

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