The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has announced that, effective immediately, regulated sport and event betting operators in Ontario may resume offering bets and betting related products on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events.
On December 1, 2022, following alleged incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders, and reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions, the AGCO required all registered gaming operators in Ontario to stop offering and accepting wagers on UFC events. Since that date, the AGCO has been actively engaged with regulated entities and stakeholders as they worked to address the issues.
In order to protect the betting public, the AGCO’s Registrar’s Standards include rules to safeguard against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other sports betting integrity issues. Sport and event betting operators must specifically ensure that sporting events they offer bets on are effectively supervised by a governing body which must, at minimum, prescribe rules and enforce codes of conduct that include prohibitions on betting by insiders. There must also be integrity safeguards in place, which are sufficient to mitigate the risk of match-fixing and other illicit activities that might influence the outcome of bet upon events.
Today, the UFC announced it has updated its policies and procedures. Specifically, the UFC has:
- Amended its Athlete Conduct Policy to prohibit all insiders from placing any wagers directly or through a third party on any UFC match, including placing wagers on themselves.
- Made clear that these same prohibitions against wagering apply to an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, and other individuals affiliated with the athletes or UFC, and that violations by these Insiders may result in disciplinary action against related contract athletes.
- Have provided assurances for enhanced monitoring and action against insider betting through the strengthening of their internal processes.
- Reiterated their expectation that their contracted athletes report any matters that might raise integrity concerns.
- Engaged in a betting integrity monitoring relationship with US Integrity, an independent sports integrity monitor registered with the AGCO, to identify and analyze unusual wagering activity as indicative of possible integrity concerns.
Given these actions, the Registrar is satisfied that the betting integrity concerns raised have now been addressed and is therefore permitting registered gaming operators to resume offering UFC-related bets. Operators must continue to meet all applicable Registrar’s Standards and the AGCO will continue to monitor compliance with the Standards. The AGCO is aware of ongoing investigations in other jurisdictions and will be monitoring the outcome and actions related to those investigations.
“The AGCO is committed to protecting Ontario players and the integrity of its betting market. With the legalization of single event betting last year, the AGCO created strong new rules to protect bettors in Ontario. We are pleased these rules are already working to strengthen the integrity of sports betting in Ontario and, as a result, of UFC competitions around the world.”
Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO, AGCO
About the AGCO
The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.
The AGCO is a regulatory agency with a governing board that reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The agency was established on February 23, 1998. It is a corporation under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019.