Ontario Sportsbooks Can No Longer Offer WBA Boxing Markets Because of Integrity Concerns

  • A sportsbook noticed suspicious betting activity on a fight in December
  • The AGCO is not confident about the WBA’s ability to supervise fights
  • Betting on WBA fights will only return when the body addresses the concerns
Ontario’s gambling regulator is no longer allowing sportsbooks in the province to offer betting on WBA fights because of integrity concerns. [Image: Shutterstock.com

Red flag

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is no longer allowing sportsbooks to offer betting markets on World Boxing Association (WBA) events due to integrity concerns. The change took effect on Thursday, April 18.

review in December into the super welterweight title fight between Livan Navarro and Yoenis Tellez

WBA bouts have raised concerns recently due to suspicious betting activity. The AGCO began a review in December into the super welterweight title fight between Livan Navarro and Yoenis Tellez which was on a Jake Paul undercard. A high number of six-figure bets came in for the fight to last at least six rounds; two independent integrity monitoring companies reported this activity to the AGCO after a sportsbook noticed the flurry of wagers.

Media reported that Tellez’s manager even allegedly wagered $110,000 on the bout going further than 5.5 rounds. Tellez won the fight in Florida in the tenth round by knockout.

Not convinced

The AGCO spoke with various stakeholders during its probe before coming to the conclusion that WBA betting does not meet the necessary standards for operators to offer markets.

The WBA is one of the oldest major boxing organizations, starting in 1921 as the National Boxing Association.

The AGCO requires sports organizations to ensure that insiders don’t engage in betting. Otherwise, operators are unable to offer markets for these events. The list of insiders includes managers, coaches, medical professionals, or anyone who might have non-public knowledge.

There were no indications that the WBA carried out its own investigation or took any action following the match-fixing allegations, so betting on these fights will only become possible in Ontario once more if the governing body shows proper supervision.

Taking no chances

Talking about the WBA matter, AGCO Registrar and CEO Dr. Karin Schnarr acknowledged the popularity of boxing in the province and emphasized that WBA betting will return when “clear integrity safeguards are in place and enforced by an effective sport governing body.”

briefly halted wagering on UFC fights in December 2022

This is not the first time that the AGCO has stopped bettors from placing wagers on events under a given governing body. It briefly halted wagering on UFC fights in December 2022 over concerns about insider betting. The UFC quickly improved its systems, which led to UFC markets becoming available again a month later.

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