Discover more from C'mon Now
How UFC's partnership with ProhiBet will work
The UFC recently announced it was working with ProhiBet, “To strengthen regulatory compliance for prohibited sports betting.” According to the UFC’s website, ProhiBet, is “the sports betting industry’s only comprehensive solution that monitors prohibited bettor activity.”
The UFC added, “ProhiBet’s cutting-edge technology provides a secure and transparent method for sports properties, both professional and collegiate, and sportsbook operators, to ensure that athletes, coaches, and league/school administrative staff remain compliant with the intricate web of state regulations that govern sports betting activities.”
According to ESPN, the UFC sent its fighters a video last week that stated that prohibited bettors are, “anyone with inside knowledge of participants in MMA matches."
"These prohibited insiders can be a coach, manager, handler, athletic trainer, medical professional staff, relative living in the same household as an athlete and/or any person with access to non-public information regarding participants in any match.”
In order to get a grasp on how ProhiBet will help the UFC shore up compliance, I spoke to Matt Heap, who is the Managing Director of Secure Sports Solutions "S3” / ProhiBet.
(this interview has been edited for length and clarity)
Please consider a paid subscription
C'mon Now is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
TR: How do you get all the information on who is considered a prohibited bettor by the UFC?
MH: Probably the better question, I guess, would be back to the UFC as to how broad a net are they casting for who's getting entered. The leagues or the schools or whoever is a list provider, they are responsible for entering whoever, whether it's policy, rule, regulation, statute, whatever it is, they are responsible on their side for entering their prohibited people.
So the UFC will have a docker and an app on their side that we supply. They will enter all of those individuals that you just talked about. However broad that net is, depending on the jurisdiction, the state, whatever, is outlined in those regulations. They will enter those people themselves.
They will also enter not only their information, but what betting markets they are prohibited from betting on based on their policy, of course, which typically league policies and school policies or NCAA policies are more overarching than the actual law or the regulation. So they will go in and they will basically say they can't bet on these different markets, and here's the list, and then they will upload that, whether it's through an API or whatever mechanism they choose, and then that gets encrypted on their side, before it ever leaves their side of their server… but they'll (the UFC) be responsible for determining who it is that needs to go in and then doing the entering.
We don't do any entering. We don't have access to any of the names or personal identifying information that they enter because it is hashed. That's for the obvious security and privacy concerns.
So, that will be incumbent on them to enter all of that information.
TR: When will the UFC go live with ProhiBet?
That one's a little harder question to answer just because we went into production on September 1st with our live product. But everybody's integration has its own different challenges.
I can say that I believe UFC is literally on the cusp of doing whatever their entry is. So they are one of the first ones that really kind of got on and said, we need this, we need it now, let's get, get going
TR: What happens if someone pops up on the prohibited bettor list? What's the process then, from your end, and what do you hand off to the UFC?
So, the way the alerting works, and there's two different ways that, and this is one of the things that takes some of the integration, this is going to be a little bit of a wordy answer, but it'll help with understanding how the alerting works. Operators, the sportsbooks on one side are still kind of vacillating on, are they going to check it at wager time, or are they just going to regularly check their patron database, their customer database, to ensure that somebody's not on it, and then they can put good guardrails up just so that nobody just can even get in and wager on certain activities.
So there's two different ways that the operators can utilize it, but the alerting system's the exact same. So let's say there's an alert from somebody at UFC that matches with the player, and when I say player, I mean customer. They will simultaneously be alerted through their dashboard that there has been, let's just say, it's UFC and Hard Rock Digital.
They both will get a simultaneous alert saying, you have an individual in your alert, in your dashboard, and it will show them on their sides, because it's behind their firewall, it'll show the name of the person, and the matching fields, let's say it's the name, date of birth, last four of social, that's a pretty rock solid match, and that would generate a high confidence match. Then they both would be simultaneously alerted, and then the contact mechanism that they want for immediate engagement with UFC and Hard Rock.
They will both know that they each have this thing sitting there that they need to act upon immediately, and then they will work through each other with their due diligence.
Then let's say it's something that isn’t a violation. It could just be an alert that such and such attempted to make a wager, but it was blocked. So technically, that is kind of a no harm, no foul unless the UFC has something in their policy that says you shall not even attempt to make a wager as opposed to just a wager placed.
They will have the nugget then to know they have some due diligence, they need to go back and forth and really do their research with each other and, you know, confirm, hey, is this really the same person that's in the UFC or is it a plumber who lives in Massachusetts and just happens to have the same name, date of birth?
It can be a lot of different things that they're alerted to, but the whole purpose is the proactive tool for them to at least talk with each other and work out what's occurred and what's not.
And let's say it's something that the operator has the legal obligation to report to a regulator, then that operator would have to do that part. But, we don't jump in and just start reporting things. We don't even get involved in any of that unless there's one instance where we would, and this would be the league opts for us to be involved. They would, no, no pun intended here talking UFC, they would have to tap us in to say, hey, we want you guys to assist in working this thing out between the league and the sports bettor, etc. because some of the, the leagues either don't have the staff to work through this or the knowledge. Even some of the smaller sports book operators, they may not have the resources to work this themselves and they can always ping us and then bring us into the equation. But unless they actively do that step, that overt step, we would not be involved in any of that, that stuff.
TR: Will ProhiBet get an alert from any betting outlet if a prohibited bettor is flagged?
MH: As long as they're contracted and they're using the product. If they're contracted with us, then yeah, that would be an immediate alert.
I reached out to UFC and asked how they plan to gather the names of the individuals who will be entered as prohibited bettors for the program. I also asked if there would be repercussions if a fighter was found to have withheld a name that should be on the list, and how often the UFC would update the list. The promotion did not respond before publication. The story will be updated if the UFC gets back to me.