The British Gambling Commission (the “Commission“) and the Esports Integrity Coalition have announced an information sharing memorandum of understanding. A link to the press release can be found here.
The Esports Integrity Coalition is a trade association set up by a number of the key stakeholders in the esports community. The stated aim of the organisation is to combat the “threat that match manipulation and betting fraud and other integrity challenges pose to esports”.
This is an area of regulatory risk the Commission is well aware of and which featured prominently in the position paper it published in March 2017 on Virtual currencies, eSports and social casino gaming. In that paper, the Commission noted public “concern about the lack of a recognised governing body in light of some high profile incidences of professional eSports participants ‘cheating’ in order to win, or underperforming to deliberately lose”. The Commission went on to say “Our primary concern in either scenario, would be the impact on British consumers gambling on events later found to have been corrupted”.
The Commission has a history of agreeing information sharing processes with representative bodies of “traditional” sports. It is a positive step for all concerned that the Commission has recognised the legitimacy and the potential influence of the Esports Integrity Coalition. It will be interesting to see the fruits of the collaboration and whether it can operate to address some of the concerns the Commission has previously cited about operators offering wagers on the eSports market.