The betting operator X-Bet has terminated its sponsorship deal with the ProDota Cup after alleged match-fixing. Citing “betting irregularities, collusion, and match fixing,” the UK-based company will stop supporting the tournament.
Multiple match-fixing allegations
X-Bet started sponsoring the ProDota Cup on June 1. Since then, the operator has reportedly experienced match-fixing on three occasions. The most recent instance occurred between sQreen’s Squad and Nemiga Gaming during the Upper-Bracket Preliminary of ProDotaCup Europe #25. After that, X-bet decided to opt out and remove the event from their website.
In a press statement, X-Bet decried the practice of match-fixing for not only its financial harm but also ethical damage to teams and fans alike.
“We have been surprised to see that there are bettors with a 100%-win rate on chosen ProDota Cup matches during the last three months,” said X-Bet spokesperson Russ Stevens. “That made us think more about the existence of a tight-knit syndicate around the PDCup tournament, with usage of insider information in order to wager on the match outcomes.”
X-Bet wasn’t the only betting operator having problems with the European tournament. UltraPlay, a Bulgarian bookmaker, also noticed shady practices while working with the tournament in the past. As of now, both organizations decided to remove betting on ProDota Cup from their platforms.
“We are covering a wide range of games and their respective tournaments, and when such cases pop up we have to move quick, together with all related parties, in order to eradicate these practices and send a strong message to teams and players that we will not tolerate such appalling behavior,” said UltraPlay Head of Esports Trading Peter Ivanov.
Match-fixing prevention is key
News of the betting irregularities also reached the Esports Integrity Coalition, an organization combatting corruption in the industry. ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith commented on the case:
“ESIC was alerted to suspicious betting in these matches by UltraPlay, with whom we have recently started working and then received further alerts from a number of operators within our network. I examined the evidence provided and concluded that the Sqreen’s Squad v Nemiga game was fixed. We have been unable to contact the tournament organizer, who is not an ESIC members, but we would urge him to contact us to discuss how these integrity threats can be addressed, before his business loses all credibility through what is clearly occurring in his tournaments.”
ESIC has been very active in setting new rules and punishment standards for cheating and match-fixing in the industry.
“There can be zero tolerance of match-fixing in esports,” Smith said. “At the very least, I would expect ProDota to be handing out long bans to the players involved and passing all possible information along to Valve so these players do not turn up in other tournaments and ruin those too.”