In the United Kingdom, the non-profit Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding that will see it partner with the Gambling Commission in order to better detect and prevent betting malpractice in eSports.
Established in 2015 by key stakeholders to deal with issues of common interest such as match manipulation and betting fraud, the ESIC declared that the information-sharing agreement means that the Gambling Commission is to consider eSports analogous to other mainstream sports such as cricket and football when investigating issues of suspected integrity-related corruption.
“This memorandum of understanding is a significant step for ESIC and the eSports community,” read a statement from Ian Smith, Commissioner for the ESIC. “The Gambling Commission has significant resources and powers that will be invaluable in helping to combat any emergence of organized crime or serious fraud within our rapidly growing sector.”
The ESIC stated that the agreement with the Gambling Commission, which was set up under the Gambling Act 2005, will see the regulator work closely with its own Sports Betting Intelligence Unit in order to identify potential irregularities within eSports gambling. As part of this process, the group proclaimed that it intends to issue guidance notes over the coming weeks explaining the implications of the memorandum of understanding and how it will help to improve the integrity of the United Kingdom eSports gambling market.
“As eSports continues to grow successfully, so will the inevitable attempts to profit on the back of that success through illegitimate means,” read the statement from Smith. “This agreement will help protect all the individuals, teams and companies working so hard to make eSports successful for players and fans alike.”
The agreement follows a similar arrangement the ESIC inked with the Nevada Gaming Control Board in March, with the group now set to benefit from intelligence provided by both jurisdictions. It proclaimed that the regulators, in turn, will profit from details gathered by its members that are not licensed in the United Kingdom or Nevada but see global eSports betting activity.
“eSports is a developing sector that offers new challenges for the betting industry with potential for further market growth,” read a statement from Richard Watson, Program Director for the Gambling Commission. “This agreement demonstrates our commitment to supporting ESIC in addressing the potential integrity risks to help maintain public confidence in eSports both as entertainment and for those who wish to place bets on British licensed markets.”