SBC News ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith - This is a call to arms for esports

ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith – This is a call to arms for esports

The newly formed Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) was announced today with Ian Smith named as Commissioner.

Ian Smith, ESIC
Ian Smith, ESIC

Its remit is to bring an end to the culture of match fixing, doping and general cheating which impacts betting, which has plagued esports over the years, and more so as potential windfalls have grown considerably in the recent past.

The initial list of members is impressive and includes Valve, Intel, DreamHack, ESL, Unikrn, Betway and Sportradar amongst others. As such it has already signed up the world’s largest league and tournament organisers, one major developer, the largest streaming site and three major players in the world of betting. So not a bad start, and there are many others reportedly in talks to join them.

On the site, which contains extensive information about all aspects of ESIC’s plans, the official ‘mission statement’ reads as follows: “To be the recognised guardian of the sporting 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.”

Smith’s background is in Sports Integrity Matters but work has been going on with the ESIC since last year wherein a threat assessment was carried out to determine the areas in which the not for profit organisation should focus its initial efforts. Interested parties or individuals can download the full report to read themselves here.

In his role as Integrity Commissioner Smith said of the news: “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.”

Joining Smith on the ESIC board is Bryce Blum, an esports lawyer and Esports Director at Unikrn and Anna Rozwandowicz, the Director of Communications at ESL.

ESIC’s task is one which is far from enviable. Numerous stories have appeared regarding match fixing and doping, whilst the issue with skins betting alone is one which will prove a huge mountain to climb. This organisation though is well backed by the industry and has put together a formidable team to take on these issues. Smith said of the challenges: “This is a call to arms for the sport to protect itself against those that will attempt to corrupt it – we know they’ll try; our job is to ensure the don’t succeed.”

The ESIC is much needed and all those that wish to see esports continue to prosper will be hoping that it can lead the fight in fixing the issues that are so deeply imbedded within the industry.

ESIC Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith will speak on the panel – ‘Corruption and how to avoid it – Protecting esports integrity’ at the Betting on Sports Conference in London this September 15th to 16th.

Early bird tickets are available now for a limited time. 

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