A week ago, Alberta banned regulated betting on UFC events, however, it did not last long. On Friday, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission announced that the ban will be lifted and wagering on UFC will be renewed on its platforms. Meanwhile, Ontario, which also prohibited betting on it, is still holding onto the decision and has not reconsidered it.
The betting bans from Alberta and Ontario were issued in relation to a UFC match from November during which a suspicious amount of wagering patterns was allegedly recorded. The fight was between two athletes coached by James Krause who was banned from participating in the federation’s events after an investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Wagering Reinstated on PlayAlberta
Due to the investigation from Nevada regulators, Mr. Krause’s license was suspended on November 18, 2022, in relation to one of his fighters that reportedly attracted shady betting patterns. This led to integrity concerns in the gambling industry, and the AGLC decided to suspend betting on UFC events on its PlayAlberta sportsbook online platform.
However, those concerns have eased since then, and thus the AGLC decided to lift its ban on UFC betting markets. In a press release, the Crown said that protecting consumers in the province is of utmost importance to the AGLC. The commission says it will stay on alert when monitoring the situation and ensure players will continue to have safe and secure gaming options on its platform.
In its statement from December 2, 2022, UFC vows to focus on the integrity of the sport. The organization also informed that it had sent a formal notice to all fighters and their team members, weeks before the suspicious fight, that they and other insiders were banned from wagering on UFC events. Meanwhile, Ontario and Alberta were to only jurisdictions to ban UFC betting.
It should be noted that Alberta’s ban affects the province’s only regulated platform, meanwhile, Ontario’s decision affects a far greater player base. This is due to the fact that Ontario operates an open and regulated iGaming model which allows dozens of operators to legally offer mobile gambling and sports betting in the province. The market is overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
On Friday, the AGCO commented that it is familiar with UFC’s statement from last week and that it was encouraged by the organization’s commitment to integrity. The regulator said that it recognizes the recent steps taken by the UFC and is committed to working with Ontario’s gaming industry, UFC, the OLG, and iGO, to ensure that the sport has a robust betting integrity framework.
Expanding iGaming Market
Meanwhile, AGCO is working towards expanding its iGaming model, as at the start of December it licensed more private entities. The last three companies to get the go-ahead are Ligtip Limited, Ellipse Entertainment Limited, and Delta iGaming Inc. And in order to go online in the market, they would need an operating agreement from the regulator’s subsidiary, iGaming Ontario.
Source: Zochodne, Geoff “Alberta Reverses UFC Betting Ban, Ontario ‘Encouraged’ by Integrity Commitment” Covers, December 9, 2022