Lack of regulation in esports gambling remains a burden

Lack of regulation in esports gambling remains a burden

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Posted by Sam Cooke
The esports industry certainly has potential, but change is needed.

Last week the esports community was up in arms when Allen Cook, a man who worked as an analyst for Dota 2 team Ad Finem shared his ante-post bets from the Boston Major revealing that he had backed his own team.

Media outlets associated with the video game industry were quick to dub the bets unethical and call the integrity of Cook into question with some going as far as to call for him to be banned from esports.

Whilst Cook later released a statement stating that he “wouldn’t do it again [...] as I do understand the confusion that can surround such a situation”, the whole reaction and case in question highlighted the need for the publishers of esports titles to introduce rules and regulations on gambling.

Esports history with gambling has been well documented, with the skins betting market arguably representing one of the biggest unregulated betting spaces in the industry’s history. A report from Narus Advisors estimated that before game developer Valve issued Cease & Desist orders to the main perpetrators that the skin betting industry would take $7.4bn (£6.0bn) of wagers through 2016.

Rules and regulations on gambling vary across sports. Whilst an owner of a horse is permitted to gamble on his own horse, the Football Association has fairly strict rules on who can or can’t bet on football in the UK. Simply put, Valve have issued little to no rules around their esports and ultimately have made no effort to do so.

Gambling remains misunderstood within esports and the hysteria surrounding completely legal ante-post bets showcases the exact point. Whilst ESL, one of the industry’s leading tournament organisers have strict rules; the biggest tournaments in Dota 2 run by (publisher) Valve have no regulations surrounding gambling.

Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (“ESIC”) told “I can not give any publisher the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their complete lack of proactivity when it comes to both betting fraud and the threat of match fixing. The only time publishers react to these things is when people bring evidence to them and plunk it on their doorstep.”

He added: “They’ve done absolutely nothing pro active in the process at all, it’s cost them nothing as someone has done all of the hard work and borne a cost to themselves. This is my gripe. These guys say the right thing and it rings true across the board. They all want integrity but no one is prepared to pay for it.”

Totally Gaming says: If esports gambling is to realise it’s undeniable potential there needs to be a collective push towards astute regulation across the space. The fact that skin betting is still rife and there’s no rules in place at the world’s biggest events go to show the relatively infant state of the industry.


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