The esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) was officially launched today in London, where media and attendees were introduced to the first esports Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith. ESIC is a not for profit members’ association created to provide an overarching integrity function for professional esports. In particular, in response to the rapidly increasing threat of betting fraud arising from a burgeoning esports betting market, the aim of ESIC is to be the recognised guardian of the integrity of esports and to take responsibility for disruption, prevention, investigation and prosecution of all forms of cheating, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping.
ESIC is open to all professional esports stakeholders and will operate with as much openness and transparency as possible. Policy and projects will be determined by the members for the members in the interests of esports.
ESIC has created a Programme for acceptance and implementation by professional esports stakeholders – primarily tournament organisers and platforms, games publishers and licenced and regulated bookmakers offering esports betting markets – that consists of a Participant Code of Conduct, an Anti-Corruption Code, an Anti-Doping Policy and an independent Disciplinary Procedure based on principles of natural justice. The Programme can be found published in full on the ESIC website – www.esportsintegrity.com
The ESIC Programme was designed to provide solutions for the threats to esports integrity identified by the Threat Assessment carried out in 2015 and also available on the ESIC website. The Programme owes a debt to cricket’s anti-corruption programme, widely acknowledged as one of the best systems in traditional sports having evolved over a decade and a half of dealing with real and challenging corruption and match-fixing cases in multiple jurisdictions.
ESIC is founded on Principles agreed by its members: Integrity and Respect, Fair Process, Implementation, Education and Enforcement in Standardised Codes, Mutual Recognition of Sanctions, Sharing of Information and Confidentiality.
ESIC will now focus on finalising membership agreements with stakeholders with whom we are currently in negotiation, recruitment of additional members from across the esports ecosystem and the implementation of the ESIC Programme in members’ terms and conditions of participation. We will also be rolling out participant anti-corruption education (a process already underway with well over 100 esports professionals already having attended education presentations, with more scheduled) and monitoring and investigation of suspicious betting in esports markets through the support of Sportradar’s market leading Fraud Detection System and relationships with the licenced bookmaking industry.
New esports Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith said, “It has been eye-opening and a privilege to work in esports these past nine months and to have gained sufficient trust within the industry to be appointed the first Integrity Commissioner. I have spent the last 20 years working across a range of sports, involved heavily in the protection of their integrity, so I am looking forward to applying all those insights and experience to the esports ecosystem. There are many challenges ahead, but it is to esports’ credit that the industry is taking these steps in anticipation of a foreseeable problem, rather than in reaction to a crisis, which is the route taken by most traditional sports to date.”
“Integrity is paramount at ESL. We were the first esports organizer to introduce doping control at events and have since then made awareness of the issue a priority within the industry,” said Anna Rozwandowicz, Director of Communications at ESL and the Board Member at ESIC. “ESL is proud to be a part of ESIC are looking forward to developing and evolving the initiative further with industry partners and influencers. This is a big day for esports and we couldn’t be happier.”
Betway’s Anthony Werkman added: “We are fiercely passionate about eSports and are delighted to be one of the founding members of ESIC that will serve and protect the sport we care deeply for. We’ve made significant investments in our eSports team over the past few years and are delighted to see the sport getting the recognition it deserves from the wider public. The integrity of eSports is paramount to its continued success, and we’re certain that the creation of the EISC will ensure the sport enjoys further success in the years to come.”
David Lampitt of Sportradar said “The world of esport is experiencing explosive growth and it is important that the stakeholders protect its integrity in parallel. The creation of ESIC is a welcome milestone in that process. We have already adapted our industry-leading monitoring system to ensure it is fully tailored to the esports environment, for example, including skins betting sites. We have also started to deliver bespoke educational programs with a workshop in conjunction with ESIC at the Intel Extreme Masters earlier this year. We look forward to supporting the important work of ESIC in safeguarding the credibility of the competitions that esports fans follow and love.”
Unikrn’s Bryce Blum added: “Threats to competitive integrity are a problem for every esports stakeholder. Unikrn is proud to be a founding member of ESIC, which we see as the first concrete step toward creating a collaborative approach addressing this issue. It is only by working with one another that we will be able to develop unified rules and enforcement mechanisms. Competitive integrity cannot be safeguarded individually. We must work together to achieve the results on which our businesses and the industry we love depend.”
ESIC has appointed Sheridans as legal counsel. Sheridans, who have well-established practices in both traditional sports, esports, and computer games, will advise ESIC across regulatory, governance and policy matters.
SUPPORT FROM THE ESPORTS INDUSTRY
“Plantronics is a proud contributor to the integrity of esports by providing industry leading RIG Commander Pro noise cancelling headphones to esports providers and tournament producers like ESL, MLG and Riot Games, to keep outside noise from interfering or negatively influencing players. We were supportive to the idea of ESIC when it was first discussed earlier this year and as it evolved under Ian Smith’s guidance, it has been incredible to see it become a viable solution to the integrity threats esports faces. I trust all other esports stakeholders will see the merit of this project and lend their support as well. Plantronics congratulates ESIC on its launch and wishes it every success as it helps our industry professionalize.” – Corey Rosemond, Head of Global eSports, Plantronics
ESIC – FOUNDING BOARD
Chair – to be appointed
Integrity Commissioner – Ian Smith
Members Director – Anna Rozwandowicz
Members Director – Bryce Blum
Anti-Doping Advisor – Michele Verroken
Legal Advisor – Sheridans
A Management Board will be appointed by the members in accordance with ESIC’s Articles of Association at the first Annual General Meeting of the Coalition in July 2017. Members of the Founding Board will be eligible for appointment at that meeting if the wish to continue.
ESIC – Members and Supporters
ESL, Dreamhack, Intel, Rainbow6, Sportradar, Unikrn, Betway, Plantronics, Sheridans
Ian Smith will be the spokesperson for all media enquiries. He can be contacted using the details provided below.
For further information, please contact:
esports Integrity Commissioner
The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) was established in 2016 to take responsibility for disruption, prevention, investigation and prosecution of all forms of cheating in esports, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping.
Sportradar’s Security Services are the market leader in the prevention, detection and investigation of betting fraud in sport. The award-winning Fraud Detection System is used by high profile rights holders across 12 different sports, monitoring over 65,000 matches in 2015. The Fraud Prevention Services have delivered fully bespoke educational workshops to over 3,100 individuals last year. Since 2009, the FDS Reports have initiated or supported over 120 successful sporting sanctions. More detail can be found here: security.sportradar.com
The Betway Group is a leading provider of first-class entertainment across sports betting, esports betting, casino, bingo and poker. Launched in 2006, the company operates across a number of regulated online markets and holds licences in the UK, Malta, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Ireland. Betway was the first major bookmaker to launch a dedicated eSports portal, giving fans the opportunity to bet on a wide variety of pre-game, in-play and long term markets. Based in Malta and Guernsey, with support from London, Isle of Man, Stockholm and Cape Town, the Betway team comprises over 1,000 people. Betway is the principal sponsor of West Ham United, in addition to a number of sponsorships across other sports including Horse Racing, Darts, Snooker and Tennis. Anthony Werkman is the Marketing and Operations Director at Betway, and a keen believer in the future of esports.
For more information about Betway’s various products and licenced brands, please visit www.betwaygroup.com.
ESL is the world’s largest esports company, leading the industry across various games with numerous online and offline competitions. It operates high profile, branded international and national leagues and tournaments such as the Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL One, ESL Pro Series, StarCraft® II World Championship Series, as well as grassroots amateur cups, leagues and matchmaking systems. ESL covers a broad field of services in gaming technology, event management, advertising and TV production, fully catering to the needs of the esports ecosystem. With offices in Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Spain, China, North America and partners in many other countries, it has a truly global footprint (www.eslgaming.com).
Unikrn is a world leading gaming, esports and entertainment company co-founded by Rahul Sood, who, up until recently, was the General Manager of Microsoft Ventures. Sood resigned from Microsoft to create Unikrn. A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups; he founded gaming computer creator VoodooPC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2006.
Unikrn has built partnerships with Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, Razer, Tabcorp, and is continuing to forge strategic relationships in the gaming, esports and entertainment space. Since November of 2014 Unikrn has raised $10,000,000 from an international group of investors. For more information, please visit unikrn.com, follow us @unikrnco and find us on Facebook.