Where there is competition, there is someone willing to wager on either of the competitors.
Competitive gaming is not an exception. Some estimates put the revenues of the esports betting industry above those of esports themselves. This is especially true in 2020, which has seen the ongoing global health situation depress the overall earnings of pro players and teams.
Where there are wagers involved, fairness and integrity can be called into question. “Traditional” gambling such as casinos and lotteries have come under intense scrutiny over the decades to make sure they are truly fair and not skewed in favor of the operator. Today, games of chance are among the most strictly regulated industries.
An entity such as JackpotCity online casino is required to obtain a license from the regulators in every territory it operates, it also has to undergo periodic audits conducted by third-party entities to ensure fairness. On top of all of that, it has to offer players and regulators public randomness reviews of its games.
In the case of traditional sports, integrity is ensured through strict regulation concerning the conduct and activity of athletes and teams and the practices of betting operators. Governing bodies and industry groups both have a part to play in ensuring things are legitimate.
What is ESIC?
Esports has its own institution meant to safeguard the integrity of competition. The Esports Integrity Commission was established in 2015 by key esports stakeholders with the goal of dealing with issues of common interest including preventing cheating, combating doping, and discovering match manipulation.
Among the current members of ESIC, are tournament operators such as ESL, DreamHack, Estars Studios, and the Uprise Champions Cup. It also includes gambling regulators including the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority, national esports federations, and gambling operators like GVC Holdings, the company behind well-known brands like Ladbrokes, Gala, Coral, and Bwin. Even individual betting operators like SkyBet, Midnite, and Betway, help to keep esports competition on the up-and-up.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ESIC’s guiding principles are a lot like those of similar bodies from the world of traditional sports. This includes integrity and respect, a fair process in the implementation of codes and rules, and the development of regulations that are comprehensive, clear, and consistent. The organization also seeks to identify, investigate, and prosecute cheaters and those involved in match fixing.
Why should we care?
In spite of the strict regulations and the tireless work of governing bodies and industry groups, match fixing and doping still happen both in sports and esports. The suspicion of cheating, doping, and manipulation doesn’t only poison the spirit of competition and the trust of fans, but erodes the trust of the sponsors that are vital for the future of the emerging esports scene.