Betting operator X-bet has announced the permanent termination of its sponsorship deal with the ProDotaCup due to ‘betting irregularities, collusion and match fixing’.
Russ Stevens, X-bet spokesperson, noted that match fixing and collusion have occurred between Sqreen’s Squad vs Nemiga Gaming during the Upper-Bracket Preliminary of ProDotaCup Europe #25. As a result, the match was denied by the admins. Even though the action, that wasn’t the first time the operator is experiencing such event.
Stevens commented: “Match fixing causes a financial loss to the operator but what is worse is that it jeopardizes the relationship between the teams and the eSports fans which affects the eSports community as a whole.
“We have been surprised to see that there are bettors with a 100%-win rate on chosen ProDotaCup matches during the last three months. 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 had been the sponsor of the ProDotaCup for some time since June 1st 2017. During this period the operator has reportedly experienced match fixing on no less than three ocassions, all of which were then reported to the tournament organisers.
X-bet has reported the case to its betting provider UltraPlay, which the company stated has also experienced a few instances of questionable practices related to this same tournament in the past. As a result, both organisations have opted to stop offering markets on the ProDotaCup.
Peter Ivanov, Head of Esports trading at UltraPlay, said of the news: “We have evaluated the cases related to ProDotaCup and have decided to stop offering odds on this tournament to our clients’ network. We believe that any existence of match fixing and betting collusion is damaging both financially and reputationally the organizations involved, but moreover they badly affect the overall eSports betting ecosystem.
“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.”
Ian Smith, Esports Integrity Commissioner at ESIC was also made aware of the case and commented: “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 organiser, 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.
“There can be zero tolerance of match-fixing in esports – ultimately, it is the DOTA2 players that will lose their careers if the audience can no longer trust that what they are watching is a genuine competition. 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.”
Esports Insider says: It’s good to see some more pro-activity from the gambling industry in the prevention of match-fixing and cheating in esports. We’ll now wait and see what kind of punishment the organisers of ProDota dish out, and indeed if there are any further punishments after the report was passed along to Valve by ESIC.