ESIC Warns ESports of Mach Fixing Dangers
The ESports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has announced that they are embarking on a major education programme for their consumers. This would include the global eSports community that involves players, punters and fans. The campaign is basically targeted at eSports participants to try and inform them of the potential dangers of match- fixing in the sector.
The entire campaign was launched in light of some new research. A recent study found that the majority of eSports players believe that while cheating should be considered a grave offence and those involved should be suitably punished, match- fixing is looked upon as a lesser crime.
The same research found that most eSports players are in support of the current system of enforcing a minimal ban for match- fixing offences. Under the current system, players who are under 18 years of age are only sentenced to bans that last for less than one year for each offense. Even adult eSports players, those who are 18 years or older, are issued relatively short bans that do not last more than two years for a similar crime.
This is in stark contrast with how these same people view cheating in eSports. The majority of them seem to support a lifetime ban for any player that is caught using hacks, cheats or software to win a match.
The ESIC said that this new information should be cause for concern for all parties involved. They also added that people should be more worried about what this suggests for the whole of the gaming sector as well.
Ian Smith, the Commissioner of ESIC said that given the gravity of match- fixing in tradition sports, it is worrying to see the act not taken as seriously when it comes to eSports.
He said, “[Having] lived through the match- fixing scandals that affected traditional sports, I am troubled by what the survey reveals about the community’s understanding of and attitude towards match- fixing.”
He also added that eSports is coming into mainstream attention as of late and is also fast becoming a popular gambling activity. If fans continue to pardon acts of match fixing, punters may lose interest in the sector and move on to other forms of entertainment for the same recreational needs. This would, no doubt, cripple the growing industry before it can even reach its full potential as a source of entertainment and revenue.
Smith said, “The relationship between eSports and gambling is new and still forming; but it is growing very rapidly and, when fans no longer believe what they’re watching is real, they will turn to other forms of entertainment.
The ESIC Commissioner added that the results of the survey suggest that most eSports fans do not understand the impact match- fixing can have on a sport. An abundance of rigging in the game could kill off the eSports industry these same fans have worked so hard to promote over the years. Therefore, match- fixing should be looked upon with the same level of disdain as cheating, if not more, especially when it comes to a novel industry such as eSports and eSports betting.
He said, “Match-fixing can have that effect – it can kill a sport and the community needs to understand that and realise that match-fixing is far more of a threat to their passion in the long term than cheating to win.”
Smith concluded by saying that coalition will increase their efforts to educate eSports supporters in the coming months. They will try and make sure that they can effectively engage with the community and make them understand how vital this issue is for the survival of the game.
Meanwhile, it seems contradictory that the ESIC is also the ones pushing to overturn the lifetime bans that were given out to CS: GO team iBuyPower (iBP) for match- fixing offenses in 2014. It seems inconsistent with the strong stance they have taken on match- fixing offenses.
The 2014 scandal involving iBP was the first big one to shake up the eSports sector. It marked the first major match- fixing incident in eSports. The iBP team contrived to lose a match that it was heavily favoured to win. As a result, seven of their ten players were banned from taking part in future events for the rest of their lives.
The coalition agreed that all seven players were definitely in the wrong for being involved in these match- fixing offences. However in their defence, they also said that the iBP players should be allowed to return to the game because there was no proper source of education on the matter back when they were charged. Moreover, ESIC reiterated that the lack of information and education was not taken into account when the bans were imposed. The organisation would like to see all seven players resume their participation from the 1st of August 2017, just in time for this year’s games.