Wednesday 31. August, 2016

Integrity of eSports Comes into Focus

eSport gambling is a rapidly growing market with tournaments in the US offering million dollar prize pools. The growth in the industry is leading experts to warn that the industry will come under threat from organised crime.

Ian Smith, the lawyer for the Professional Cricketers’ Association in England at the time that the Hanse Cronje match-fixing scandal which changed the cricketing industry forever broke in 2000, said it’s only a matter of time before eSports follows suit. Mr Smith, as head of the eSports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) said he hoped the industry would learn from the experiences of traditional sports.

“I don’t think there’s been a traditional sport in the world, aside from maybe golf that has instituted significant anti-corruption measures before a crisis arose,” he said.

“They’ve only reformed when faced with calamity and I hope eSports has learned from that.”

Mr Smith predicted that by 2020, the regulated esports industry will grow to $20 billion annually and if you include the black and grey markets, this could be as high as $200-$300 billion per annum.

“If we don’t get a grip on this now, it is inevitable that organised crime will get more broadly involved in eSports betting before the end of 2018 on current betting projections.”

The current challenge is to convince the major gaming leagues to sign up to the anti-corruption code for esports, which has already been drawn up by ESIC. For now, only ESL and DreamHack have signed up.

“There’s a natural reluctance to believe that their community might be engaged in anything nefarious at all because the vast majority of the esports community is run by gamers for gamers,” Smith added.

“So there’s this belief that because they’re honourable people with integrity that every gamer is also an honourable person with integrity.”

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