The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has ended its survey today, which was gathering opinion on the sanctions for people caught cheating in esports.
“Esports is primarily about the community around each game – the players, fans and teams that participate and watch – and it was entirely appropriate for us to consult those communities about how its cheats and frauds should be punished,” commented Ian Smith, Integrity Commissioner for the Esports Integrity Coalition. “Following the conclusion of the survey, I am very thankful to the community for their enthusiastic participation; particularly the CS:GO community, who responded in their thousands.”
ESIC published a position paper on cheating in April 2017 and the principle thrust of that paper was that the esports industry needs a consistent, fair and proportionate approach to how it deals with cheating, both to win and to lose (match-fixing). Taking the community’s views is a significant part of determining what is proportionate within esports. It is not, however, the only view that matters and ESIC also takes into account the practices of other traditional sports integrity efforts and prosecutions and the consequences of match-fixing on those sports affected by it historically.
In particular, we have witnessed sports and leagues lose credibility because of widespread fixing and, consequently, take a harder line on what is appropriate as a punishment for match manipulation than the esports community currently appears to do. Also, we must take into account the legal environment in which we operate and, in particular, how sporting sanctions have historically been dealt with by the civil courts around the world.”
If you’re interested in reading about the findings of this paper, you can do so here.
Integrity Commissioner, Ian Smith, commented further, “There is, of course, a great deal more that could be said about these survey results, but finding out what the community thinks has been a fascinating and revealing exercise and I respect their opinions. They are, after all, the lifeblood of esports and we must pay heed to their views. Having said that and having lived through the match-fixing scandals that affected traditional sports, I am troubled by what the survey reveals about the community’s understanding of and attitude towards match-fixing. The relationship between esports and gambling is new and still forming; but it is growing very rapidly and, when fans no longer believe what they’re watching is real, they will turn to other forms of entertainment.
Match-fixing can have that effect – it can kill a sport and the community needs to understand that and realise that match-fixing is far more of a threat to their passion in the long term than cheating to win. ESIC will redouble its education efforts over the coming months to ensure we engage effectively with the community on this vital issue. At a personal level, I am not comfortable with lifetime bans for first offences. Taking the wider view, they are very hard to justify and my hope is that, in esports, they are very sparingly used. Of course, the best way to avoid a ban is not to cheat in the first place. I hope participants realise that their chances of being caught and punished have increased dramatically since the founding of ESIC.”
If you’re interested in reading the full report, you can check it out here.