Steven R. October 23, 2020
Liquipedia has quietly been on the frontline of a major match-fixing scandal in Dota 2.
The esports Wikipedia took to Reddit and issued a lengthy statement on a creeping issue across the esports scene. Alongside the constant match-fixing problems that plague Dota 2 is a recent surge of fake tournaments.
Illegal betting operations are creating fake events, then using Liquipedia as a means of deceiving bettors. This issue has been becoming more and more serious in recent months, to the point where Liquipedia staff and contributors are being threatened by those who try and push back against this.
“The worst part of all this is that wiki volunteers and likely other parties are being targeted almost daily for taking down pages or rejecting dubious submissions, or they’re being coerced by bad actors into a match-fixing scheme. We’ve heard reports of volunteers and others being verbally harassed, threatened, abused, and even doxxed by these individuals,” Liquipedia said in an official statement.
Match fixing, shady betting sites are a serious problem in Dota 2
Dota 2’s size, popularity in betting circles, and complete lack of oversight from Valve make it fertile territory for sketchy activity of all sorts. This has begun manifesting in a unique way in 2020.
Illegal betting sites can create fake tournaments, offering action on games that aren’t actually real. While this could be looked at as esports’ answer to virtual horse racing, these fake tournaments are presented as being real events, featuring real teams. The illegal betting sites can then fix the matches based upon which bets are most profitable, allowing them to guarantee bettors lose.
In other cases, people will create fake tournaments and attempt to get them listed on websites like Liquipedia. This can result in the tournament appearing for action on some betting sites, which allows the people behind the fake event to place bets on matches in which they control the outcome.
The most high-profile example of this phenomenon came in June with an event called the NA Summer Shuffle. Though the event had the appearance of a tier-three online league featuring a handful of notable teams such as Infamous and Infinity Esports, many of these teams came forward to announce that they were not taking part in the event at all.
Liquipedia requested action from a number of different entities to combat this, in particular calling upon Valve to have stricter requirements for recognizing events through in-game tickets. The site also asked that Valve take a more active approach to combating match fixing. Liquipedia then called upon betting sites to be more transparent in regards to cancellations related to suspicious betting activity.