The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has had enough of the accusations hurled at it for a while that it was working for the betting industry and released over the weekend an official statement.
SB 165, ESA, Banned Players
Special attention the esports integrity body paid to Nevada SB 165 sponsored by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, which aims to establish a state regulator for esports. Contrary to what the Judiciary Committee was told while considering the bill, the ESIC is not supporting the passage of the bill – it is opposing it and will undertake action to explain its position to the committee.
ESIC outlined that since its inception in 2016, it was partnering with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and was a founding member of the Nevada Esports Alliance. The esports integrity organization continued that certain parties purported to speak on its behalf without authority, but all this managed to achieve was the public perception that “ESIC’s views should be dismissed because the Commission is a servant of the betting industry”.
ESIC’s relationship with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the industry body representing most publishers and developers of video games used in esports, was also damaged by the same false narrative which portrayed the Commission as working for the betting industry, as some of ESA members urged the association not to engage with the integrity watchdog.
ESIC believes that this false narrative is purposefully being spread by disaffected players banned by the body and some of their supporters in a coordinated effort to undermine the authority of the commission, which is not shy of dishing bans to players involved in match-fixing.
Match-Fixing is ESIC’s Focus
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” is ignorant and damaging, as to the ESIC, so to the integrity of esports, the commission outlined.
“ESIC is neither for or against betting on esports. We are not advocates for betting nor crusaders against it.”Ian Smith, Commissioner, ESIC
Betting on esports is there to entertain while driving revenue for the esports ecosystem, the Commissioner continued, but as betting opportunities exist, so do incentives for punters to collude and commit betting fraud – the central focus of the ESIC which is there to protect the integrity of the sport and the players.
Commissioner Smith further underlined that match-fixing cannot be tackled without collaboration with the esports betting industry as “betting data is at the heart of determining whether or not a match might be fixed and betting data is the key evidence in any prosecution of a match fixer”.
“…ESIC works with the betting industry on behalf of the esports industry; we do not work for the betting industry.”Ian Smith, Commissioner, ESIC
ESIC has two categories of members – esports members, primarily organizers of esports events, and anti-corruption supporters, including betting companies, regulators, law enforcement, monitoring firms, data providers, and industry bodies, and these categories do not overlap. All betting operators benefit from ESIC is the access to its Suspicious and Unusual Betting Alert Network to which they contribute with data.
Commissioner Smith concluded by singling out the naïve or disingenuous assertions by some players involved in betting activities on their games who state it was “innocent”, pointing that in each case ESIC had so far undertaken enforcement action, it involved a player who had “bet on the game, league, tournament or match in which they have participated”.
“There is no scenario in which this is acceptable and we will continue to prosecute players who do so where we have jurisdiction.”Ian Smith, Commissioner, ESIC