Ontario Operators to Stop UFC Bets Due to Integrity Concerns
In order to protect the betting public, effective immediately, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is requiring all registered casino, lottery and igaming operators that offer sport and event betting products in Ontario to stop offering and accepting wagers on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events due to concerns about non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.
The Registrar’s Standards include rules to safeguard against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other sports betting integrity issues. 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. 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.
Contrary to the 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.
In recent weeks, the AGCO has learned of publicised alleged incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
AGCO has indicated to operators that, once the necessary remedial steps have been taken, they may provide information demonstrating that UFC bets or betting products meet the Registrar’s Standards.
Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO of AGCO commented, “The Standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other integrity issues. 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.”