Effective immediately

Ontario regulator bans UFC wagering over compliance concerns

2022-12-05
Reading time 1:32 min

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) on Thursday ordered registered gaming entities to stop offering and accepting wagering on the UFC "due to non-compliance with AGCO's betting integrity requirements".

The AGCO, which oversees the regulated gaming industry in Ontario, requires sports governing bodies to enforce codes of conduct that include prohibitions on betting by insiders and to have sufficient integrity safeguards in place to mitigate the risk of match-fixing.

In a press release, the AGCO stated that "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 AGCO said that the decision was taken due to non-compliance with their betting integrity requirements after allegations surfaced of betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.

U.S. Integrity, a betting integrity firm, launched an investigation after several sportsbooks reported suspicious wagering on a Nov. 5 featherweight bout between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.

Multiple sportsbooks reported receiving unusual betting interest on Neurdanbieke winning by knockout in the first round and for the fight to last fewer than 2.5 rounds, explains ESPN. The odds on the fight moved dramatically in the hours leading up to the featherweight bout in Las Vegas, with Neurdanbieke moving from a -220 favorite to a -420 favorite.

"The Standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing, and other integrity issues," the provincial agency said in a statement. "This is not a decision we take lightly, knowing the popularity of UFC events in Ontario’s sportsbooks."

"However, the risks of insider betting on event and wagering integrity should be highly concerning to all. It certainly is to us," said Tom Mungham, registrar and CEO of AGCO. "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."

The commission clarified that once the necessary remedial steps have been taken, operators may provide information demonstrating that UFC bets or betting products meet the Registrar’s Standards.

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