Alberta has also backed Ontario’s decision to prohibit regulated wagering on UFC fights after integrity concerns emerged in the sport. On Friday, December 2, 2022, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission made the announcement about its decision, making it the second Canadian jurisdiction to ban wagering on UFC events after Ontario.
The reason for the suspicion of insider betting is a featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 214 between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke from November which attracted abnormal betting activity hours before the match. Just seconds after the start, Minner fell down injured, which led many to believe that he was injured before the start of the bout.
No UFC Betting in Alberta for a While
In its press release, the senior communications officer for AGLC, Lynden McBeth said that as of December 1, 2022, the Crown has suspended offering and accepting wagers on UFC events due to the potential risk of betting integrity. The AGLC explained that UFC wagers that were placed on PlayAlberta.ca have been voided and funds have been refunded to users.
Furthermore, the Crown corporation stated that it will continue to monitor standards implemented by UFC before renewing betting options on its platform PlayAlberta. AGLC reports that it currently monitors the situation and says that once it is confident that UFC’s regulator body is effectively protecting athletes, fans, and bettors, it will consider lifting the ban.
Minner’s head coach, James Krause was previously involved in rumours about making tons of cash on betting in fights, and was also banned by the UFC. This was in relation to the cornering of his trainee, Miles Johns, at a subsequent event on November 19, 2022. The Nevada Athletic Commission currently investigates the matter and is expected to be on the body’s December 14 meeting agenda.
According to additional reports, the Las Vegas-based integrity firm, U.S. Integrity, is examining the Minner-Nuerdanbieke fight. The UFC said it is also looking into the matter with betting integrity partner Don Best Sports. While in October, the UFC updated its athlete code of conduct, prohibiting athletes, coaches, and close associates from wagering on fights.
Update on the Province’s Market
Currently, Alberta is also working on launching its own retail sports betting market. However, it is looking increasingly likely that it will not be able to keep its deadline of having the new sector up and running by the end of the year. Previously, the AGLC gave an update and shared that it is still working through the negotiation process with interested parties.
Earlier this year, the province’s regulator held a Request for Proposals for private betting companies that want to become part of the sector. However, unlike Ontario’s open-operator model, Alberta’s will be a limited one with just two operators. One of the rumoured frontrunners is PointsBet which a while back shared that it will focus on Calgary-Edmonton Corridor.
Source: Segura, Danny “Alberta becomes second Canadian province to ban UFC betting amid concerns of impropriety”, Yahoo Sports, December 3, 2022