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Ontario lifts ban on betting following changes to UFC code of conduct

The UFC’s partnership with U.S. Integrity and changes to the promotion’s code of conduct have lead to Ontario lifting it’s ban on betting.

Ontario has lifted its ban on UFC betting
Ontario has lifted its ban on UFC betting
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Betting on UFC events is once again allowed in the province of Ontario. On Thursday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced it had reinstated betting following a suspension that went into effect on December 1, 2022, because of “concerns about non-compliance with AGCO’s betting integrity requirements.”

The December action by the AGCO came on the heels of betting irregularities surrounding a November 5 UFC bout between the James Krause-coached Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke. The betting and injury disclosure issues around that fight resulted in the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspending Krause, Minner and Jeff Molina pending the results of investigations.

On Thursday, the AGCO wrote on its website:

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.

Alberta also banned betting on UFC fights on December 1. However, the province lifted that ban shortly after, stating at the time, “With the recent announcement by the UFC that Krause, his managers and fighters will not be permitted to participate in UFC events, pending Nevada State Athletic Commission’s investigation, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) has reinstated UFC betting markets on PlayAlberta.ca. Protecting consumers in Alberta is of the utmost importance to AGLC. We will remain vigilant in monitoring the situation and ensure players continue to have safe and secure gaming opportunities on Play Alberta.”