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Published: April 12, 2021

Written by: Kyamil Nasuf

  • ESIC has addressed malicious rumors that the body is in cahoots with esports betting operators
  • The integrity commission has sternly denied any endorsement of the esports betting sector beyond the need to regulate and preserve the integrity of competitive video gaming
  • Match-fixing in esports is increasing as the popularity of the activity is growing as well

ESIC issued a strong rebuke addressing false claims that the organization is “a servant of the betting industry.”

ESIC Denies Representing Betting Interests

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has released a new statement, dispelling rumors that it is interested in supporting the esports betting industry and arguing that the organization’s sole goal insofar as any esports betting activity is concerned, is to see esports thrive as an ecosystem where integrity and fairness are upheld.

In a statement this weekend, ESIC argued that there had been false narratives regarding the organization’s involvement in the US market and its specific duties in guaranteeing the impartiality of competitive video gaming contests.

“Whilst we have historically tried to address this misconception privately, it has now surfaced again in a way that damages the integrity of esports and the Commission in a way that needs to be publicly addressed,” the statement read.

ESIC argued that it did not endorse a piece of legislation pitched in Nevada by Senator Ben Kieckhefer, who has been looking to push for the creation of a body that regulates esports betting activities not just in the Silver State but in the United States as a whole.

ESIC, though, has never presented itself as a champion of esports betting but rather a company that works with operators when need is to preserve the integrity of competitions. Rather, the organization has maintained neutrality and has acted swiftly against parties that have undermined the integrity of esports, whether those have been organizations or players.

In light of some of the decisions ESIC has reached in relation to players that have been caught in breach of ESIC’s Integrity Programme, the organization argued that those parties had been actively engaging in discrediting the organization.

Beware of False Narratives

Prevailing false narratives, however, have made it difficult for ESIC to establish relationships with worthwhile partners, and it has strained its relationship with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the body that brings together developers and game publishers.

One of the biggest false stipulations against the commission has been that ESIC is purposefully asserting that certain matches are fixed to help betting operators benefit – a statement that is ludicrous on the face of it.

“This coordinated effort has been reported to ESIC to include rhetoric such as ‘ESIC falsely asserting certain matches are fixed so that the betting operators don’t have to pay out the winning bets on those matches.”

ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith, a known and trusted figure in the esports scene, has felt the need to also speak up against the parties propagating false rumors, arguing that ESIC is “neither for nor against betting on esports. We are not advocates for betting or crusaders against it.”

However, Smith did stress that the development of esports betting has affected low-tier esports and made it harder for aspiring players to reach a competitive status. Smith is not wide of the mark at all.

Match-fixing is a threat, and even the FBI and Australian police have been involved in actively counter-acting it. Technological companies such as Abios have done their best to provide stakeholders with the necessary tools to fight possible violations of esports integrity.

Smith spared no remark in addressing the narratives and arguing that they were damaging not just ESIC’s reputation but also undermining the integrity of competitive video gaming as well.

“ESIC accepts that the existence of betting in esports is a contentious matter for some people and that they would rather it didn’t exist, but that is not an excuse to ignore the challenges posed by its existence,” he added.

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