Ontario sports betting will no longer include the UFC.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has required regulated sportsbooks to stop offering and accepting bets on UFC mixed martial arts because of integrity concerns.
“This is not a decision we take lightly, knowing the popularity of UFC events in Ontario’s sports books,” AGCO registrar and CEO Tom Mungham said in a statement. “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 off the board in Ontario
Ontario sports betting operators were sent the following message, in part: “The AGCO takes the position that the bets and betting products related to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events do not meet the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.”
Ontario operators quickly moved to take UFC off their boards, with one telling LSR that it had already unbooked all UFC fights and removed MMA from its A-Z sports list.
Recently, the UFC has been under investigation for suspicious betting activity, with MMA coach John Krause at the forefront.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement informed licensed sportsbooks in the state that they should not offer any fight in which Krause is involved as a “coach, trainer, promoter or fighter.”
Krause coached Darrick Miner. Miner’s Nov. 5 featherweight fight with Shayilan Neurdanbieke was being looked into by multiple integrity firms for suspicious betting activity.
UFC sports betting clause not enough?
In October, the UFC issued a memo saying UFC fighters were prohibited from gambling on any UFC fight, regardless of if they are involved or not.
But the AGCO is unsatisfied with the UFC in light of the recent events. Its statement reads:
Contrary to the Registrar’s Standards, the UFC does not prohibit all insiders from betting on UFC events, which could include an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals, or other persons with access to non-public information.
In recent weeks, the AGCO has learned of publicized alleged incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders, as well as reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
AGCO has indicated to operators that, once the necessary remedial steps have been taken, they may provide information demonstrating that UFC bets or betting products meet the Registrar’s Standards.