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Esports Integrity Coalition wants to neutralize 'increasing threat' of fraud

Esports Integrity Coalition wants to neutralize 'increasing threat' of fraud
July 5, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

Today has seen the formation of another British eSports regulator with the official launch of the not-for-profit Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC). 

The ESIC will attempt to bring integrity to professional eSports, and is particularly concerned by the threat presented by the rapid rise of betting fraud in the eSports market. 

"The aim of ESIC is to be the recognized guardian of the integrity of eSorts and to take responsibility for disruption, prevention, investigation and prosecution of all forms of cheating, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping," explains the ESIC website. 

To that end, the ESIC has pledged to operate with as much transparency as possible, and will determine which policies and projects it pursues by working with its members, who are bound by a code of ethics

Founding members and supporters include the likes of eSports organisers ESL and DreamHack, as well as hardware manufacturer Intel and online gambling outfit, Betway. 

Additional members will be recruited from all corners of the eSports ecosystem, with the ESIC explaining it's a scalable operation that’s open to new members of any size.

Anyone keen to link-up with the fledgling regulator will first need to get in touch with the group's new integrity commissioner, Ian Smith -- a UK lawyer with over 20 years' experience in traditional sports, and the man responsible for overseeing the ESIC.

Before making the leap to eSports, Smith spent two years running the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) -- the umbrella body for all the Player Associations in International cricket -- and sat on the Athletes Committee of UK Anti-Doping for five years.

"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," said Smith.

"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."

The ESIC isn't the UK's only eSports governing body. Just last week the British eSports Association sprang into life with a promise to represent and support the country’s players and grassroots competitive gaming scene. 

Prior to that, ESIC supporter ESL helped found the World Esports Association (WESA), another regulator that claimed it could clean up and standardise one of the fastest growing sports in the world. 

For its part, WESA promised to "professionalise" eSports with the introduction of player representation, standardised regulations, and revenue shares for teams. 

The group, however, was soon called into question, with GameSpot highlighting the flaws in giving a self-selected, pro-team council the power to implement and change tournament rules.

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