Esports Events May Be Currently Lacking Standard Integrity Checks
Due to COVID-19, real-world sports are all called off for the next couple of months. According to the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), betting operators have switched things up to cover esports instead. They “have to make a living,” after all. Esports, however, may be lacking some serious integrity checks which may be easier to evade.
Esports Is Serious Business
It seems like we can’t go a week without reporting on match fixing, cheating, people rage-quitting, or something else ignorant and awful. While these matches lacking integrity checks is bad enough for fans, it can also be dreadful for companies trying to run betting services. Their entire operation could fold thanks to the unfortunate whims of a team or two trying to game the system.
The MGA issued a list of risks associated with esports events that they want people to be aware of. “Just like other sports, esports has varying levels of professional, semi-professional and amateur tournaments, and whilst many esports events are organized in a highly professional manner, others may not. And in a new sector such as esports, this distinction may not be easy to make.”
Due to the nature of these events completely being held online right now, the MGA feels that esports may be lacking serious integrity checks. These betting operators need to be sure the matches aren’t pre-recorded, to avoid matches that may have been fixed. Esports is certainly not immune to scandal. We’ve seen match fixing all across the board, underage players joining teams, and worse still.
“Tournament organisers, broadcasters and sports governing bodies (SGBs) should revise any policies regarding misuse of inside information so as to include also any participants or officials involved in their esports events,” the authority said.
Enter GameScorekeeper’s New Tool
What do people do in these trying times? With esports, it’s probably much easier for people to place bets on events when they’re underage, thanks to the anonymity of the internet. We also have to consider that many esports stars are at or under 18. They’re very impressionable, and can potentially be convinced to cheat or do something unfortunate during a match.
We shouldn’t be betting on esports where the players are under 18, anyway. Everything about that feels gross and wrong. Enter esports betting provider GameScorekeeper. We discussed this recently on our podcast, but they have a new service that lets operators lower the risk of taking on bets on events where the majority of participants are under 18.
This is the “Player Age Service” based on a register of the age of esports athletes. This is then linked to the players’ team, and lets operators exclude the under-18 athletes or teams. It can be done manually or automatically, and will also help GamerScorekeeper operate within the rules of a variety of regions.
For example, Spain and Sweden both have laws that ban betting on players under the age of 18, or on teams where the majority of the players are again, under the age of 18.
Felix Klasstrup, GameScorekeeper’s founder and CEO, explained the reason behind this new service. “In football, it’s relatively easy to pinpoint most under-18 teams, but in esports, many teams field a mix of under-18 and over-18 athletes, which has made our clients increasingly interested in a service that makes the athletes’ age transparent and actionable,” he said. “The betting industry will go a long way to ensure compliance and with this service, it’s relatively easy for them.”
Betway is the first online gambling operator to go on board with this. While it won’t fix cheating in esports, especially in the younger crowd, it may help some. When younger, more impressionable players can be wagered on, that’s a great deal of pressure. It can lead them to make bad decisions. They could also wager on the other team if the odds are better and throw a match, thus ruining the credibility of a game.
So with this in mind, and the nature of esports changing thanks to only online games, it will be much harder to keep integrity checks in place, which may be pretty obvious not just to the MGA. I’m sure there are concerned parties across the board. In a scene where cheating sadly runs pretty rampant, there needs to be new systems put in place for this kind of scenario.