With eSports becoming increasingly popular with the next generation, betting on major tournaments and match-fixing is on the rise as well. As seen in other mainstream sports, when there’s gambling, there’s bound to be some form of match-fixing. Over the past few years, we have witnessed the quick, dramatic rise and ill-fated tragic fall of several top eSports athletes from all around the world.
Match-Fixing In Esports
One of the most unfortunate consequences of esports betting would, without a doubt, be match-fixing. We’ve seen it happen countless times. The outcome of a sporting event is either fully or partially predetermined. Match-fixing has plagued every form of sports betting, and eSports is no exception. Given the fact that it is one of the fastest-growing categories of sports betting, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Esports tournaments draw millions of gamers, both professional and amateur; as well as hoards of fans from all over the world. They, unfortunately, also attract corrupt gambling syndicates, and sometimes even money-minded players who just want to make a quick buck.
Match-fixing in Korea 2010
Most major tournaments have seen their fair share of match-fixing. Perhaps one of the most well-known match-fixing incidents took place in South Korea, in 2010. Even back then, the eSports scene in the country was massive. In June of that year, 11 top-tier StarCraft players were purposefully throwing away games after striking deals with betting syndicates. They were all fined and banned from ever competing again. A few were imprisoned. In 2016, another Korean StarCraft player, Lee Seung-Hyun, – ‘Life,’ gets arrested. He also faces up to 18 months in jail. This is because he threw away two games for 70,000,000 Won ($60,000). He is also banned from Korean eSports. Until then, he was considered to be one of the best StarCraft players of all time.
Esports Integrity Coalition (ECIS)
To tackle the widespread corruption, the Esports Integrity Coalition (ECIS) formed in 2015. It is an independent, non-profit organization whose aim is to maintain a standard of professionalism and integrity within the community. Apart from match-fixing, the organization also deals with issues of doping, hacking, online attacks, and cheating during tournaments. Earlier this year, ECIS hosted a match-fixing summit. Some individuals, including tournament organizers, game developers, and sponsors, among others, attended the event. It helped raise awareness of the prevalence of match-fixing in eSports. And to also establish a set of standards for the community.
While match-fixing in eSports is prevalent, there have been attempts to reduce such incidents. Due to its novelty to the world of betting, the efforts made so far have proven to be helpful. And while we may not ever see a future that is entirely void of match-fixing, efforts by bodies like ECIS would assist in reducing such incidents.