X-bet, a popular online sportsbook, looks set to cut ties and sponsorship with the ProDota Cup esports competition, after match-fixing claims and betting irregularities surface. According to reliable investigations, the end of their agreement is final, ending the partnerships that started in June 2017.
A spokesperson for X-bet, Russ Stevens, mentioned that match-fixing causes a financial loss to the operator. He went further to say that it jeopardises the bond between teams and the esports fans which affects the whole esports community.
ESPORTS TOURNAMENT PLAGUED BY MATCH FIXING – BETTING IRREGULARITIES
Reports indicate that X-bet’s resolution came after the match between Sqreen’s Squad and Nemida Gaming, showed evidence of match-fixing. This match occurred during an opening round of the ProDota Cup #25. They dropped their sponsorship after providing sufficient proof to event organisers. X-bet further stated that they had found three further instances of betting irregularities, in other events they sponsored over the last six months.
X-bet went one step further, by sharing their investigation results with betting provider UltraPlay, which has since also decided to drop the ProDota Cup from any market operators who use UltraPlay for their betting.
Pete Ivanaov, the head of esports trading for UltraPlay decided to not offer further odds on the ProDota Cup games. He stated that he believed match-fixing and betting collusion damaged the financials and reputation of all organisations involved. He also stated match-fixing affected the overall esports betting ecosystem.
MINOR TOURNAMENT CATERS FOR NEWER TEAMS
The ProDota Cup is one of the smaller tournaments designed to test semi-professional and professional teams who play Dota2. Dota 2 is one of the most widely supported esports globally.
Dota2 tournaments offer some of the biggest prize pools in esports history, with the main International event offering up to CA$24 million. The ProDota is more modest and lower profile, offering just under CA$2000 in cash prizes.
UtraPlay also announced that they had reported the suspect betting trends to the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), which is a new regulatory body designed to regulate virtual competition.
The ESIC made history earlier this year, after banning a CS:GO player who admitted to cheating. Match-fixing, as well as cheating, have been a consistent problem for esports, as the sport is still young, and many semi-professional players play for small prize money.