Ontario bettors can now wager again on Ultimate Fighting Championship events, as the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) reinstated betting on the sport in the Canadian province on Thursday.
The organization had ordered registered entities to stop offering and accepting wagering on the UFC in late December “due to non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.” But this week, the commission reinstated betting since the UFC has “updated its policies and procedures.”
The changes include an amendment to UFC’s athlete conduct policy to prohibit insiders from placing any wagers on any match. The organization has also established a relationship with U.S. Integrity, an independent sports integrity monitor to analyze unusual wagering activity.
As a result of the UFC’s policy and procedure changes, the AGCO is “therefore permitting registered gaming operators to resume offering UFC-related bets.”
Tom Mungham, the AGCO’s registrar and CEO, said in a statement: “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.”
"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.
Meanwhile, in an email to The Canadian Press, The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. said its customers can expect a return of UFC events on its Proline platforms.
Riche T. McKnight, UFC's executive vice president and general counsel, said the promotion's association with U.S. Integrity will strengthen UFC's current integrity controls by adding expertise in data intelligence and fraud prevention. "There is no greater responsibility we have to our athletes, fans, and business partners than to ensure the integrity of our sport," McKnight said.
"Throughout this process, we have had productive discussions with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to address the concerns AGCO expressed to their operators,” he added.
The reinstatement of UFC wagering in Ontario comes ahead of the mixed martial arts promotion's first pay-per-view event of 2023. UFC 283 is scheduled to take place Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.