Ontario Bans UFC Sport Betting Amid Integrity Concerns
Ontarians will no longer be able to bet on the UFC for the foreseeable future.
On Thursday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that registered sportsbooks must stop offering and taking bets on the UFC “due to non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.”
“The Standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing, and other integrity issues,” the AGCO said in a media release. “This is not a decision we take lightly, knowing the popularity of UFC events in Ontario’s sports books. However, the risks of insider betting on events 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.”
The AGCO also stated its rules include safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other sports betting integrity issues. Contrary to the Registrar’s Standards, the AGCO goes on to detail the UFC does not ban all insiders from wagering on UFC events, which could include an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, trainers, medical professionals or other people with non-public information.
But the UFC states it announced on Oct. 18 that fighters and teams were not allowed to wager on UFC events. According to a letter obtained by ESPN, UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell noted the change came as a result of “in light of clear direction that we have received from regulators responsible for the regulated sports betting industry in the United States.”
A Nov. 5 fight between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke and Darrick Minner was the result of the AGCO limiting UFC wagering. The bout saw suspicious betting patterns that multiple groups are now investigating.
Numerous sportsbooks received bets on Neurdanbieke to win by knockout in the first round and for the fight to go fewer than 2.5 rounds. The moneyline odds also shifted with Neurdanbieke going from a -220 favorite to -420.
Nuerdanbieke ended up dropping Minner with a knee to the head and won with a TKO stoppage at just 1:07 into the first round, cashing out all the bets that saw suspicious line movement as winners.
“The AGCO is now taking this step in the public interest,” it said in a media release. “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.”
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