UFC Betting is Banned in Ontario?

James Krause Valmir Lazaro lightweight bout UFC event
(L) James Krause kicks Valmir Lazaro in their lightweight bout during the UFC 184 event on February 28, 2015. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission in Ontario has forced sportsbooks in the province to remove The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) from their betting markets due to integrity concerns.

“This is not a decision we take lightly, knowing the popularity of UFC events in Ontario’s sportsbooks,” Tom Mungham, CEO of the AGCO, recently said in a statement.

“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.”

No More UFC Betting Markets in Ontario

The following message was sent to Ontario sports betting operators regarding the matter: “The AGCO takes the position that the bets and betting products related to Ultimate Fighting Championship events do not meet the Registrar’s Standards for Gaming.”

Sportsbooks based in Ontario wasted no time removing the UFC from their betting markets, and some sites completely removed MMA from their sports categories.

James Krause’s Case

It’s no secret among the MMA community that former UFC fighter and current MMA coach at the Glory Fitness & MMA gym, James Krause, has been investigated for suspicious wagering activity.

Krause, 36, coaches various UFC competitors and has been at the forefront of the investigation that was triggered when his fighter Darrick Minner, fought and lost to Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in a suspect manner. Multiple integrity firms launched an inquiry into the Nuerdanbieke/Miner bout.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was the first to act by contacting licensed operators in the state to request they remove any bets that involved fighters trained, coached, or promoted by Krause and his gym.

New UFC Betting Rules Weren’t Enough

Following the controversy, the UFC informed its fighters that gambling on any UFC bout, whether they’re competing or not, is now prohibited.

However, ACCO isn’t satisfied with how the UFC has handled the matter and would require stricter rules regarding all personnel associated with the promotion before reinstating UFC betting in Ontario. The AGCO statement read:

“Contrary to the Registrar’s Standards, the UFC does not prohibit all insiders from betting on UFC events, which could include an athlete’s coaches, managers, handlers, athletic trainers, medical professionals, or other persons with access to non-public information.

“In recent weeks, the AGCO has learned of publicized alleged incidents, including possible betting by UFC insiders and reports of suspicious betting patterns in other jurisdictions.”

AGCO has stated that operators located in Ontario can resume their UFC betting markets once the appropriate action has been taken and the MMA promotion can meet the Registrar’s standards.