James Krause fallout and UFC betting in New Jersey
In the aftermath of that Nov. 5 fight, Krause, who was offering paid betting tips on UFC fights, was not allowed to be in the corner of Miles Johns at UFC Fight Night: Nzechukwu vs. Cutelaba back on November 19. That same day, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) prohibited sportsbooks from taking bets on any fights in which Krause was associated.
Krause had his license suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Dec. 2 and Minner was released from his UFC contract that same day.
The UFC released a statement on Dec. 2 stating that they have "advised Krause and the respective managers working with impacted fighters, that effective immediately, fighters who choose to continue to be coached by Krause or who continue to train in his gym, will not be permitted to participate in UFC events pending the outcome of the aforementioned government investigations."
UFC previously banned fighters from betting on matches
Back in October, UFC President Dana White banned fighters from wagering on any UFC match directly or through a third party. Up until then, fighters were allowed to place wagers on themselves, their opponents or any other match.
The Code of Conduct was also amended to prevent family members, coaches and team members from betting on UFC fights.
AGCO, AGLC cite concerns about odds manipulation, match-fixing and integrity
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) notified the provinces' sportsbooks that they can no longer accept or offer bets on UFC events. This comes after retired UFC fighter and active trainer James Krause came under fire about some suspicious betting activity that was monitored at UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs. Lemos on Nov. 5. ESPN Chalk’s David Purdum and Marc Raimondi reported on the investigation and the match in question between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.
Ontario bans all UFC wagers
Ontario has now taken it a major step further and banned all UFC betting at the province’s legal sportsbooks, including DraftKings Sportsbook. The statement, in part, from the AGCO reads:
“The standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other integrity issues. 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 event and wagering integrity should be highly concerning to all.”
The short answer as to why this happened is that the AGCO had concerns about “non-compliance” with its betting integrity requirements. To be offered in Ontario, events must be “effectively supervised by a sport governing body”, so it would appear that the UFC does not fulfill that requirement in the minds of officials.
What’s next for UFC betting in Ontario?
The tail end of the AGCO’s statement says that the governing body will “continue to work with gaming operators, the OLG (Ontario Lottery Gaming), iGaming Ontario and UFC to ensure that wagering on UFC events meets the AGCO’s standards”.
Judging decisions have always come under scrutiny, but these developments have taken things to a new level. This may only be a temporary ban or it could be something more, but the UFC may have to put some additional safeguards in place.
Also, it's unlikely that any U.S. states will follow Ontario’s lead, but regulatory organizations and gaming industry watchdogs will be keeping a much closer eye on line movements and the fights moving forward.
Given the steps that the UFC has made to distance itself from Krause and draw a hard line regarding the fighters and other trainers in his circle, it wouldn't be shocking to see Ontario and Alberta live their bans if they are satisfied with the promotion taking a stronger stance to preserve its integrity.