After the recent controversy about suspicious betting activity in UFC, Ontario has now decided to renew regulated wagering on its fights. The decision from the province’s regulator, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario comes after the federation updated its policies and procedures. Provincial operators can now offer and accept UFC wagers, effective immediately.
It should be reminded that AGCO banned wagering on the federation’s events on December 1, 2022. This move came after alleged incidents including possible wagering by UFC insiders and reports of suspicious betting patterns in some jurisdictions. The regulator mandated that all registered gaming operators suspend betting on UFC events.
Wagering Ban Now Raised
As the gaming regulator of Ontario, the AGCO’s Registrar’s Standards are implemented to protect bettors from odds manipulations, match-fixing, and other related sports wagering integrity concerns. That is why sports and betting operators must guarantee that sporting events they offer wagers on are successfully monitored and overseen by a governing body, which must establish rules and enforce protections.
On Thursday, the UFC reported that it has made some changes to its policies. Some of the amendments include the Athlete Conduct Policy to forbid all insiders from playing any bets directly or through a third party on any match of the federation. This includes wagers on themselves. It also provided assurances for improved monitoring and action against insider wagering.
The federation also reminded these same prohibitions against wagering apply to athlete’s coaches, handlers, managers, athletic trainers, and other positions related to the UFC fighters. It also wanted that violations by insiders may result in disciplinary action against related contracted athletes. And reiterated its expectations that contracted sportsmen will report cases of suspicious activity.
After hearing the changes, AGCO’s Registrar shared that it is satisfied that integrity concern issues have now been dealt with, hence allowing for provincial operators to resume offering UFC-related wagering. Meanwhile, operators must continue to abide by all applicable Registrar’s Standards and the AGCO will continue to monitor compliance with the Standards
Taking Care of Ontario’s iGaming Sector
AGCO is responsible for overseeing Ontario’s brand-new private market for third-party brands and the regulator keeps a close eye on it. The commission is not hesitant to sanction operators who violate the rules, as in July 2022, it issued a CA$100,000 monetary fine to DraftKings. According to AGCO, the operator breached the rules by promoting boosted odds for hockey matches during the NHL playoffs.
In addition to keeping gaming brands in check, the regulator is also responsible for registering new brands that wish to join the market. In December 2022, the commission licensed several new operators. One of those brands was Betsson AB-owned TonyBet, which is a Baltic sports betting company. It gained its operator registration on December 5, 2022.
Source: “AGCO Reinstates Betting on UFC Events in Ontario” AGCO, January 19, 2023