August 22, 2019

The Importance of Child Protection in esports


An important issue that the esports industry faces is child protection – there is a duty on everyone in esports to protect children from harm, although (taken as a whole across the industry) there does not currently appear to be a significant amount of resource dedicated specifically to doing so. It is however a particularly pressing challenge for stakeholders in esports to address, because of the number of children engaged in esports, the amount of activity that takes place online (which is often unsupervised, or very lightly supervised), and the fact that there is no governing body that has yet taken a firm lead in addressing the issue (meaning each organisation must actively address the issue itself).

A failure to adequately protect children from harm could have serious consequences, primarily of course as a direct result of the harm itself to individual children, but also in terms of consequential liability and reputational damage for the esports organisation(s) concerned. There have been a number of high profile examples of such failures very recently in traditional sports, and esports can take the opportunity to learn from those experiences (as well as the developed and sophisticated processes that currently exist in many sports in order to protect children).

Equally, having robust procedures in place can provide an esports organisation’s stakeholders, participants, customers and commercial partners with assurance that a safe environment exists for children, which can have a number of positive benefits (including driving participation).

ESIC wants to raise awareness of this important issue, and it has therefore – with assistance from ESIC Disciplinary Panel member, Richard Bush of Bird & Bird LLP (a senior lawyer with significant experience in the area of child protection) – put together this introductory guidance note to help ESIC’s members, and members of the wider esports community, to consider the steps they might take in order to protect children from harm in esports.


A ‘child’ is anyone who has not reached adulthood, the exact age of which varies between countries. However, generally, younger children are more vulnerable to harm than older children.

‘Harm’ is not a narrow concept, and can mean different things in different contexts. In a very broad sense however, it can be thought of as anything that adversely affects a child’s physical or mental health, or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.

More specifically, it can be considered to include:

  • Sexual abuse – where a child is forced, persuaded or encouraged to take part in sexual activity, whether or not physical contact is involved (including grooming, where an individual seeks to befriend a child in order to take advantage of them for sexual purposes).
  • Physical abuse – where physical harm is inflicted on a child, including injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.
  • Emotional abuse – where a child is emotionally mistreated, which includes such things as bullying, or humiliating or scaring a child (this could include instances of trolling, flaming, and cyberbullying).
  • Financial abuse – where a child is defrauded, exploited or otherwise placed under any financial pressure, including in the context of gambling.

Harm can also arise in the context of sexual relationships arising from the abuse of a position of trust, such as where an individual exploits a relationship in which they employ, care for, advise, mentor, supervise or coach a child (such a relationship can be considered harmful whether or not both parties are over the age of consent, which older children can be despite still being children).


Perhaps the very first step for any esports organisation seeking to prevent harm to children is to establish which aspects of its operation create a foreseeable risk of harm to children.

Most obviously, such risks arise – online or offline – where individuals (including other children) have direct and unsupervised access to children. In an esports context, obvious examples include the increasingly common practice of coaching young players, the team environment (where the team includes any member who is not yet an adult) and any online tournaments or other platforms that feature unsupervised communication or messaging (whether spoken or written).

Risk of harm to children also of course arises in the context of any gambling operations, with regulators expending significant efforts to ensure that children are protected from harm and exploitation, including by requiring (among other things) strong age verification checks. Similarly, esports organisations may also take the view – if not in any event required by national law(s) – that children should be prevented from accessing content that is not appropriate to their age group (for example, by restricting access to playing in, or viewing, age rated games – whether online or at physically staged events).


There are a number of steps esports organisations can take to reduce the risks to children that might arise from their operations. The most appropriate steps in each case will depend on the specific circumstances of the organisation (including its relevant activities and the age of children involved), but those steps include (individually or as part of a wider child protection policy):

  • Monitoring

Esports organisations can monitor activity taking place under their control, to ensure that children are not at risk of harm. Terms of use (and, where applicable, data protection/privacy policies) should be worded in order to permit such monitoring for these purposes.

  • Guidance and codes of conduct

Esports organisations can produce and publish information that clearly sets out conduct that will not be tolerated, as well as guidance as to how individuals should treat children. This information can be set out as part of wider acceptable use policies.

  • Rules and regulations

Esports organisations can introduce rules and regulations governing participation/access, which enable them to prevent access to individuals who might harm children. Such rules and regulations can also set out processes in order to address individual cases, providing for appropriate procedures and sanctions (from education as to best practice in less serious cases to lifetime bans in the most serious cases).

  • Clear reporting mechanisms

Esports organisations should ensure that there are clear ways in which individuals can report any suspicions they might have that any child is being harmed, or at risk of being harmed, e.g. a dedicated telephone line and email address, or online reporting system.

  • Reacting to reports

Esports organisations should ensure that they have procedures in place to quickly and effectively respond to any discovery or reports of harm, including support for anyone affected, and the ability to take any immediate steps necessary to deal appropriately with anyone accused of committing an act of harm. This should include sharing information with other esports stakeholders and third parties (to the extent lawfully possible) in order to prevent further harm.


ESIC is keen to encourage best practice in relation to child protection, and therefore welcomes any observations stakeholders may have in this area. ESIC will actively monitor any developments in relation to the protection of children, and may seek to take an active role in future.

In the meantime, ESIC strongly encourages its members and esports stakeholders more widely, to review their operations to identify any areas where a risk of harm to children might arise, and then consider whether those areas are adequately addressed, and if not, what steps should be taken.


August 07, 2019

Esports Insider and ESIC partner for ESI London

ESI and ESIC have worked side by side for some time now, and last year ESI became the Official Media Partner of the organisation. ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith is an ESI event veteran, having been involved as a speaker since 2016, but for ESI London this time around the two companies are stepping it up a gear.

There will be an ESIC hosted track on day two of the conference, which is taking place at Twickenham Stadium over 16-17th September. You can see the details of this track below:-

  • Cheating, match-fixing and betting fraud in esports: Where are we?
  • Can esports and betting on esports coexist in peace and harmony?
  • Reliable data: Can a standard be agreed?
  • The esports integrity ecosystem: Working together for the future of healthy esports

ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith said of the partnership:- “We are very excited to take central role in curating an entire track with our long time official media partner, ESI, for the second iteration of the excellent London Forum. I have spoken or moderated at almost all ESI Forums since their inception and I keep coming back because they just keep getting better. I am so grateful to ESI for their unwavering support for our mission to retain competitive integrity in esports and I’m really looking forward to being involved again in September.

The thing I like most about ESI Forums is that the speakers and delegates have always been esports insiders – literally – and that means we can go into greater depth knowing our audience are up to speed. It’s a world away from esports101 and that makes it interesting for everyone involved.”

Managing Director and Co-Founder of Esports Insider, Sam Cooke added:- “We are incredibly supportive of the important work ESIC does across the space, and our involvement with them to date is testament to that.

“For ESI London this year, our biggest event yet, we were keen to have them more heavily involved and lo and behold that’s what’s happening, with a whole ESIC led track on day two at Twickenham. This adds another string to the bow of an event which also sees the inaugural live pitch competition The Clutch taking place the same day, as well as a host of top level speakers and debate worthy topics across the board.”

To find out more, and to secure tickets for ESI London, you can click here. There is a discount available too for ESIC members, who can find out more by contacting ESIC directly.

For further information about ESIC, please contact:

Ian Smith

Integrity Commissioner

Twitter: @ESIC_Official

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.



May 23, 2019

Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) Announces 12 month ban…

23rd May: The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) has handed down a 12 month ban to Clash Royale player, Jimit Bhatt for account sharing, boosting and acquiring rank, rewards and qualification by deception.

Bhatt was playing in the ESL India Premiership 2019, which is a tournament subject to the ESIC Code of Conduct and Anti-Corruption Code, when it was discovered that his game account was being used by multiple players at various times over the past month. Based on evidence provided by Supercell, the account has been logged into in more than 10 countries using over 30 different devices. In addition ESIC was provided with video evidence of Bhatt’s account being played whilst he was using other apps on his phone and chatting with people, which could not be done if he was playing the game.

It is impossible to tell precisely how many in-game rewards, qualifications, prizes or ranking points have been accumulated for Bhatt by other players playing his account, but there is no doubt that this happened and that it is in contravention of Supercell’s terms of service, ESL India Premiership Rules and the ESIC Code of Conduct.

Consequently, Bhatt is banned from all esports across all ESIC members and will only be eligible to enter any competition organised by an ESIC member company after 23rd May 2020.

For further information about ESIC, please contact us at:

Twitter: @ESIC_Official

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.