Ontario’s Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) has requested that all licensed operators in the state remove UFC betting from their offers. Betting integrity has been cited as the reason for this step after the authority learned of alleged insider betting.
According to AGCO, the UFC wasn’t compliant with their betting integrity standards. It seems that the fighting championship doesn’t take enough measures to stop insider betting. However, the authority has pointed out that it plans to work with all involved parties in order to enable UFC betting to Ontario consumers.
Ontario’s regulator informed the public and its licensees about the “effective immediately” ban on December 1. In its statement, the AGCO demanded that “all registered casino, lottery, and iGaming operators” with sports betting services stop accepting UFC wagers.
In its explanation, the authority reminded that bookmakers and online casinos in Ontario must ensure any sports betting events they accept wagers for were “effectively supervised” by sports betting governing bodies. This body was supposed to prescribe rules and enforce codes of conduct that prevent placing wagers by insiders. Moreover, such sports betting events must come with appropriate integrity safeguards that would remove the risk of cheat-at-play, illicit activities, match-fixing, or any activities that could affect the bets’ outcomes.
According to AGCO’s information, the UFC didn’t have any such measures in place. In fact, the regulator highlighted how the fighting championship allowed insiders such as managers, coaches, trainers, medical professionals, handlers, and other insiders with access to sensitive and non-public details to place wagers.
Following this information and alleged incidents involving insider betting for UFC events, AGCO has decided to ban UFC betting in Ontario. This ban will remain effective as long as it takes for remedial steps to be taken.
In a statement addressing the ban on AGCO’s website, AGCO’s CEO – Tom Mungham – reminded the public that “the Standards” were there to protect the consumers and provide safeguards against manipulations. Therefore, according to Mungham, banning UFC betting wasn’t a decision they took lightly, especially knowing the popularity of wagering on UFC events in the Canadian province.
He went on to clarify how concerning the risks of betting by insiders, as well as wagering integrity, were to everyone involved. That’s why they had to take the necessary steps to protect both consumers and sportsbooks affected by such manipulations. Mungham pointed out that the authority would keep working with the OLG, operators, iGaming Ontario, and UFC to ensure UFC betting would comply with the regulator’s Standards.
Experts believe that a November incident is among the reasons for AGCO’s ban on UFC betting. Namely, a problematic fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke that took place on November 5 and ended in just 67 seconds.
Sportsbook reported getting unusual interest in particular wagers. The first popular option was that the fight would end in under 2.5 rounds, and the other backed up Neurdanbieke in knocking out Minner in the first round. Due to the increased traffic, the odds drastically changed.
Considering that Neurdanbieke did knock out his opponent very quickly, various bodies, including U.S. Integrity (USI), launched investigations into the fight.
According to ESPN reports, Minner supposedly had a knee injury before the fight took place, which led to bettors favouring his opponent. The rumours were denied by the fighter’s manager, Andrew Lee. The opinions on the fight’s outcome were divided. Some believe that Minner lost it intentionally, whereas others think he shouldn’t have been allowed to fight at all.
While the Ontario regulator is the newest to take measures against the possible manipulations and insider betting regarding UFC, it isn’t the first.
Ever since the unfortunate outcome for Minner, regulators from various jurisdictions have taken their own steps. In New Jersey, the state authority banned betting on fights in which James Krause – Minner’s coach – has involvement of any kind.
Moreover, the State Athletic Association in Nevada said it was considering disciplining Minner because he failed to disclose his pre-fight medical form and physical condition.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on UFC, which has already taken some measures to prevent betting by insiders. The fighting championship banned wagering on UFC to fighters, including some individuals who are closely related, work, or train with participating athletes.
The step faced resistance from the fighters, many of whom depended on their betting income. With the latest betting regulations imposed by the UFC, they mustn’t bet on or against themselves. With regulators breathing down its neck, it remains to be seen what other restrictions regarding insider betting the UFC will introduce.
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