The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that licensed sports betting operators in the Canadian province can resume processing wagers on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events with immediate effect.
Last month, the AGCO ordered all operators to stop taking bets on the UFC due to integrity concerns amid reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.
Since this announcement, the AGCO has been actively engaged with regulated entities and stakeholders as they worked to address the issues. This in turn led to the UFC updating its own policies and procedures.
As such, the UFC amended its Athlete Conduct Policy to prohibit all insiders from placing any wagers directly or through a third party on any UFC match, including betting on themselves.
The UFC also 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, adding that any violations may result in disciplinary action against related contract athletes.
Meanwhile, the UFC provided assurances for enhanced monitoring and action against insider betting through the strengthening of their internal processes, while it reiterated its expectation that contracted athletes report any matters that might raise integrity concerns.
In addition, the UFC struck up a betting integrity monitoring relationship with US Integrity, an independent sports integrity monitor registered with the AGCO, to identify and analyze unusual wagering activity.
The AGCO said these actions addressed its betting integrity concerns raised, and as such lifted the ban on UFC betting in the province. The regulator also said it would continue to monitor ongoing investigations into integrity issues in other jurisdictions and take any necessary action if required.
“The AGCO is committed to protecting Ontario players and the integrity of its betting market,” AGCO chief executive and registrar Tom Mungham said. “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.”