The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has issued an order to all operators in the province to stop offering and accepting wagers on UFC events due to betting integrity concerns.
Effective immediately, all registered operators that provide sports betting products in Ontario can no longer accept wagers for UFC events, which the AGCO states do not meet its betting integrity requirements.
The commission’s registrar’s standards state, 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 added 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 commission also noted that it has learned about publicized allegations of UFC betting integrity in recent weeks as well as suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
Taking this information into account, the AGCO is taking action out of public interest to stop betting on UFC events with Ontario operators, 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.
Hunter Campbell, Chief Business Officer of UFC, sent out a letter to fighters and their teams updating the athlete code of conduct policy, prohibiting them and their close associates from wagering on UFC events. The policy change was made to fall in line with US sports betting regulators.
The MMA promotion has also acknowledged concerns and is looking into the 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.