The Esports Integrity Coalition

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The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) is an initiative that Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith would describe as a pragmatic endeavor. Not a proponent of casino online gambling, Ian has realized the pressing need to have an overseeing body in the quickly expanding esports industry, providing consistent regulations, a suspicious betting alert network and rulings in contentious cases to keep esports clean.
Since launching in July, 2016, the ESIC has secured a number of respected institutions as partners, starting with tournament hosts such as ESL, Blast Pro Series, Dreamhack and LVP, media companies such as Esports Insider and endemic and non-endemic sportsbooks, such as Betway, Pinnacle, Skybet, ArcaneBetand
we are pragmatists who recognize that it’s happening and has a potential impact on competitive integrity.
The ESIC has already had to allocate stiff penalties to players who tried to cheat as part of official esports events, sending a clear sign cheating would not be tolerated. We had the opportunity to speak with Ian who shared his thoughts on the future of the industry, how mature esports are and who is playing them as well as the existing partnerships between betting agencies and ESIC. Here is what Ian shared with us:
Ian Smith, ESIC Integrity CommissionerQ: As a head of ESIC, do you see a future for esports betting gaining popularity over the next years?
Ian Smith: Definitely – we are not advocates for gambling, but we are pragmatists who recognize that it’s happening and has a potential impact on competitive integrity. We also recognize that betting on esports is the fastest growing sports betting product in the world and we do not see that trend ending for some time.
Ian offered an interesting point of view on the maturity of the industry, explaining that while many participants were still young, many players only fully got into competitive video gaming at around 18 years of age. He still cautioned that any campaigns targeting advertisement in the sector need to be careful and consider the age of the audience. He hoped that bettors would recognise that well-regulated, licensed operators should be favoured over the less scrupulous operators that proliferate in this area.

ESIC itself is known to work with multiple esports betting agencies. What sort of collaboration have you been able to develop?
IS: We are in the process of changing the nature of our betting membership, so there will be announcements soon, but the core will remain the same as it’s always been: The exchange of information about suspicious betting on esports. All our betting operator members participate in a suspicious betting alert network so that we can identify as quickly as possible what matches might be fixed and determine what we can do about it. That network is vital to our primary function to stop match-fixing. In addition, each operators membership subscription contributes directly to our participant education programme, both in person and online.
ESIC is not focused on meting out punishment despite it zero tolerance policy towards cheating on the competitive level. Instead, the organization wants to relypromote prevention. Ian doesn’t mind explaining how the ESIC will catch wrongdoers, almost as if testing them.