SiGMA

Ontario halts betting on UFC fights on integrity concerns

Posted: Dec 02, 2022 14:23 Category: Americas , Regulatory , Sportsbetting , Posted by Sharon Singleton

The Ontarian regulator said it has ordered all casino, lottery and iGaming operators to stop taking bets on Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) due to integrity concerns.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) said it was concerned about non-compliance with its betting integrity requirements.

These stipulate that the event must be supervised by a sports government body, which must prescribe final rules and impose a code of conduct. This includes no betting by insiders. 

There also needs to be safeguards to ensure there is no match fixing or other illegal activity. 

“The Standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other integrity issues,” AGCO registrar and CEO Tom Mungham. “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.”

UFC issues arose in other jurisdictions

AGCO said it had heard of cases in other jurisdictions of betting by insiders as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns. 

The regulator said it may reconsider once operators have put sufficient measures in place to ensure compliance. 

In October, the UFC sent a letter to athletes telling them of a new code of conduct policy that prohibits them and their close associates from betting on events.

Hunter Campbell, the UFC’s chief business officer said in a letter:  “In order to assist our athletes in understanding their obligations under the laws of the majority of states in which sports betting is permitted, and in further support of these integrity measures, UFC has incorporated a wagering prohibition into the UFC Athlete Conduct Policy expressly prohibiting athletes from wagering on any UFC match.”

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