On April 10, 2021, the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) issued a statement regarding the “false narrative” that the commission is a “servant of the betting industry”.
ESIC began its statement by explaining the three reasons behind its decision to issue a response in regard to the circulating allegations.
The first one relates to what ESIC says is the false claim that it supports the SB 165 bill – which aims to regulate wagering activities – sponsored by Ben Kieckhefer, a Nevada state senator. In its address, the commission stated that its opinion is being disregarded due to a rumor that has surfaced, according to which “the Commission is a servant of the betting industry.”
ESIC also wrote that the erroneous narratives had damaged the relationship between it and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), as it seems that some of its members are trying to convince the ESA to cease communication with the commission.
Lastly, ESIC wanted to put a rest to the notion that it’s in the habit of “falsely asserting certain matches are fixed so that the betting operators don’t have to pay out the winning bets on those matches.”
With all the hearsay going around, ESIC commissioner Ian Smith felt the need to publicly set the record straight. “ESIC is neither for or against betting on esports”, he said. According to him, betting is inseparably connected to sports of any kind and oftentimes the two industries work together in order to combat match-fixing. As this aligns with the commission’s goal of maintaining the integrity of esports, the organization says it cannot wage a war against punters, betting sites, or anything or anyone else connected to gambling.
However, although ESIC isn’t against betting, it strictly prohibits professional and semi-professional gamers from placing bets on games in which they’re competing. According to Smith, this is “not a service to the betting industry but a service to the esports industry.”
With the pandemic keeping many indoors, the online gambling scene is booming and new betting sites are popping up on an almost daily basis. While ESIC understands that this is concerning to some, it can not impede its anti-corruption mission by turning its back on the important data provided by betting stakeholders.