Not surprisingly, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is holding off on lifting the ban on UFC betting, deciding not to take Alberta’s lead.
As Canadian Gaming Association President and CEO Paul Burns has said on numerous occasions, when it comes to digital gaming and sports betting, every Canadian province marches to its own drummer. Gaming markets are unique in every province.
On Friday, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) reversed their decision to ban betting on the UFC in the province, satisfied the UFC was properly dealing with the issue of betting integrity on its own.
Ontario isn’t there yet, despite statements by the UFC that they are cooperating with government investigations into a Nov. 5 fight where there were concerns about suspicious betting patterns. The UFC has terminated the contract of a fighter, Darrick Minner, and suspended a coach, James Krause.
“The AGCO is aware of UFC’s statement last week and is encouraged by their commitment to integrity. Protecting the betting public by providing the necessary safeguards against the risk of insider betting on event and wagering integrity is a high priority to the AGCO,” said the AGCO in a statement, shortly after AGLC announced their intentions. “We recognize the recent steps taken and are committed to engaging with Ontario’s gaming industry, UFC, the OLG, and iGaming Ontario to ensure that the UFC has the necessary betting-integrity framework in place, in particular relating to wagering by UFC insiders.”
So in the AGCO’s eyes, we like the progress, but we’re not there yet.
At UFC 282 over the weekend, UFC president Dana White told media that he had no concerns about any impact on the integrity of the UFC.
“Zero. I’m not worried about it at all,” he said. “We let these guys know not to bet on fights. Do you know what the outcome of this is? If I penalize them, they get cut. [But] they are going to go to (expletive) federal prison. Federal (expletive) prison. If you’re that (expletive) stupid and somebody else wants to do it, knock yourself out. There’s not enough money in it, to ruin your life, and not go to jail, but go to federal prison.”
White added he didn’t know when the investigations would be wrapped up.