Ontario reinstates UFC betting markets after integrity-based changes
Canadian provincial regulator greenlights resumption as mixed martial arts governing body inks deal with US Integrity
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has confirmed the province’s sports betting operators may resume offering bets on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events following a month-and-a-half hiatus.
AGCO prohibited Ontario licensees from UFC betting on December 1, following reports of possible betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
Since then, the regulator has been “actively engaged” with regulated operators and industry stakeholders on the issue.
AGCO standards require that all sports on which betting is offered are effectively supervised by a governing body which “must, at minimum, prescribe rules and enforce codes of conduct” that include prohibitions on betting by insiders.
The governing body concerned must also have integrity safeguards in place, which are sufficient to mitigate the risk of match-fixing and other illicit activities that might influence the outcome of bet upon events.
In October, the UFC tabled proposals to amend its athletic code of conduct policy to prohibit fighters and their close associates from wagering on UFC events.
The tabled amendments came after pressure from sports betting regulators concerning the sport’s stance on integrity and preventing potential match-fixing on UFC bouts.
The UFC has today confirmed a series of updates to its existing procedures following the initial tabling of these proposals, including the prohibition of insider betting.
It has also made clear that these same prohibitions against wagering apply to an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, and other individuals affiliated with the athletes or UFC itself.
AGCO confirmed that UFC officials had provided assurances for enhanced monitoring and action against insider betting through the strengthening of their internal processes.
The governing body also reaffirmed its expectation that all fighters report any matters which might raise integrity concerns.
To further strengthen this, UFC has signed a deal with betting integrity monitoring platform service US Integrity, which is registered with AGCO, to look at potentially suspicious betting activity.
“Given these actions, the Registrar is satisfied that the betting integrity concerns raised have now been addressed and is therefore permitting registered gaming operators to resume offering UFC-related bets,” AGCO confirmed.
AGCO registrar and CEO Tom Mungham welcomed the resumption of betting on UFC bouts.
“The AGCO is committed to protecting Ontario players and the integrity of its betting market. With the legalization of single-event betting last year, the AGCO created strong new rules to protect bettors in Ontario,” he said.
“We are pleased these rules are already working to strengthen the integrity of sports betting in Ontario and, as a result, of UFC competitions around the world,” Mungham added.