On Saturday, ESIC published a somewhat unusual press release in which it defended itself against recent claims and a developing ‘narrative’ that the association was developed primarily to serve the interests of the esports betting industry.
Comments In Nevada regarding the setting up of an esports commission in the estate, as well as a narrative put forth by the Entertainment Software Association and echoed by individuals that have been punished by ESIC for their behaviour, sought to imply that the organisation was essentially a puppet developed to protect the esports betting industry.
Namely, claiming that ESIC falsely claimed matches had been fixed to rule in favour of betting companies that would then not have to pay out on these matches.
Of course, such a controversial stance and set of opinions could not remain unchallenged and ESIC made their response in the form of a frankly excellent press release that not only stated clearly their position, but exposed the flimsy and inaccurate arguments for the untruths that they were.
It is entirely understandable that ESIC would seek to address and dismiss these somewhat fatuous rumours immediately and here is why.
Why ESIC not solely serving the interests of the Esports Betting Industry is important
If you are someone that has engaged with UK esports betting sites then you will know that the very best esports sites offer as good a service as any other betting site you can find in the UK.
However, when an organisation as important as ESIC needs to do its crucial work to fight corruption within the esports industry, for it to do this job as effectively and transparently as possible, it needs to serve only one master.
That is integrity.
The moment that ESIC is accused, even falsely, of serving the needs of the esports betting industry, or even esports organisations, teams or individuals, then its crucial impartiality is called into question. If this happens, then ESIC as an organisation will cease to be the arbiter of fairness within esports.
In my view, ESIC’s role is a hugely important one in esports. Not only is it effectively rooting out those small number of professionals that cheat and attempt fraud, but it is a visible and off-putting presence serving as a deterrent to those that may be tempted in the future.
Pleasingly, unlike some top organisations in other fields, notably sport, the punishments ESIC mete out to individuals, teams and organisations that fall foul of their judgements are universally tough. This makes ESIC wholly effective in the role it has built for itself.
Although not popular with those it has caught out.
Therefore, comments like those made in Nevada, which state that ESIC is a ‘servant of the betting industry’ are potentially hugely damaging, if left unchallenged and corrected.
There is a misconception at the heart of this. As part of its challenging work in keeping esports clean, ESIC has to work with all stakeholders in the industry. That is more than just teams and players, but also companies that create the games and technology and of course, the esports betting industry that is in itself, a massive market.
How could ESIC stop match-fixing, a huge problem in some unregulated markets, if it did not work with the esports betting companies that were the victims or attempted victims of such fraudulent activity?
However, just because on occasions ESIC works with the esports betting industry, does not make it a puppet of it. Indeed, if any esports betting company began to behave poorly towards its customers, then ESIC would be as intolerant of this as it would be protecting betting companies victims of fraud.
As ESIC stated so eloquently in its statement
“Individuals attempting to propagate the narrative that ESIC works for the betting industry either have their own adverse agenda, or are naïve about the realities of betting and the relationship between esports and betting on esports.”
ESIC is a shining light in esports and esports betting and it was right to defend its integrity so vehemently in the face of these baseless allegations and long may it continue to do so.