NEWS & PRESS

November 14, 2023

ESIC Welcomes PrizePicks as the First Fantasy Sports Operator Anti-Corruption Supporter

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) is pleased to announce PrizePicks’ entry into ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Supporter membership. PrizePicks is the first fantasy sports platform to take a firm stance against corruption in the esports industry by working with ESIC to disrupt, prevent, investigate and prosecute all attempts to compromise competitive integrity in esport competition. This partnership marks another milestone in ESIC’s ongoing mission to safeguard the integrity of esports and protect the interests of all its stakeholders.

By becoming the first fantasy sports platform to step forward as an Anti-Corruption Supporter, PrizePicks is establishing a new benchmark for the entire fantasy sports industry. ESIC commends PrizePicks’ unwavering commitment to promoting integrity and transparency in esports and their profound dedication to ensuring a secure and equitable platform for players and fans alike.

The membership emphasises PrizePicks’ shared commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fair play within the esports industry. PrizePicks joins a distinguished class of other Anti-Corruption Supporter stakeholders who have historically worked with ESIC to ensure that attacks against the competitive integrity of esports competition are appropriately reported and dealt with.

Ian Smith, ESIC’s Commissioner, commented:

“We are proud to welcome PrizePicks as an esteemed Anti-Corruption Supporter, and we commend them for being pioneers in the fantasy sports industry to stand against corruption in esports. Together, we are taking a proactive approach in nurturing a culture of integrity and transparency, as we work hand in hand to create a safe and rewarding environment for everyone in the esports industry.”

Adam Wexler, PrizePick’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“PrizePicks has always been committed to the development and growth of esports. We firmly believe in cultivating a fair and safe environment to ensure the continued success of esports as a competitive domain. Collaborating with ESIC aligns with our vision, and we are eager to play a proactive role in promoting integrity within the esports community.”

About ESIC

ESIC is the recognized guardian of the integrity of esports and works to for disrupt, prevent, investigate, and prosecute of all forms of cheating and malpractice in esports, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping with the overarching objective of protecting youth, promoting industry investment and safeguarding sporting integrity in esports.

Learn more about ESIC at https://www.esic.gg

About PrizePicks

 PrizePicks is the largest skill-based fantasy sports operator and the fastest-growing sports company in North America according to the 2023 Inc. 5000 rankings. The company was recognized as the Fantasy Sports Business of the Year by the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association and as the Fantasy/DFS Operator of the Year by EGR North America. With current team and league partnerships including NASCAR, Atlanta Braves, Big3, Atlanta United and North Carolina Courage, PrizePicks is a fun, fast and simple version of daily fantasy sports, covering a wide variety of sports leagues from the NFL and NBA to esports titles League of Legends & Counter-Strike. Founded and headquartered in Atlanta, GA, the PrizePicks workforce has grown to over 300 in the past year, with the company recently being recognized as a Top Workplace by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. For more information, visit www.prizepicks.com.

Learn more about PrizePicks at https://www.prizepicks.com/

 

NEWS & PRESS

July 17, 2023

The European Esports Federation becomes a member of the Esports Integrity Commission

The European Esports Federation (EEF) has become a member of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC). EEF guarantees that it will follow the ESIC codes and ensures that all future competitions to be organized or licensed by the EEF will comply with ESIC’s anti-corruption and anti-doping codes, with the players and managers being required to abide by ESIC’s code of conduct.

“This collaboration will give us a chance to further develop the regulations of the competitions which benefits both the national federations and its players. It’s a step towards strengthening the esports ecosystem and increasing the professionalism and competitive integrity of the upcoming European Championships”, says Tiago Fernandes, President of the European Esports Federation.

This foresees fair and transparent competitions, where integrity and fair competition is ubiquitous, as well as true sportsmanship. A pivotal point in the development of the Esports industry is the protection of the community and its supporters. Esports world should be striving to create a save and fair environment where diversity is cherished, and everyone has a chance because we are here to distribute to them. Esports is more than just business and organization, it is a way of life.

Stephen Hanna, Director of Global Strategy and Partnerships at the Esports Integrity Commission said: “We are delighted to welcome the European Esports Federation as a federation member of the Esports Integrity Commission. This collaboration not only strengthens our joint commitment to promoting transparency, fair play, and competitive integrity across the global esports industry. By adhering to the ESIC Integrity Program and implementing our anti-corruption and anti-doping measures, the EEF showcases its dedication to maintaining the highest standards of integrity in esports. We are looking forward to working together to create a safer and fairer environment for all stakeholders and to foster the growth and success of esports in Europe and beyond.”

The European Esports Federation (EEF) was established in February 2020 in Brussels and since then it aims to present a unifying vision for Esports in Europe to unite and align all key stakeholders of Esports with specific attention to the underlying values of the European communities. The mentioned values are the following: transparency, fair play, sportsmanship, human values, and inclusiveness, out of which, most are aligned with ESIC’s vision.

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) a non-profit association founded in 2016 with a goal to be the recognized guardian of the 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.

NEWS & PRESS

July 01, 2023

Victoria Police and Esports integrity commission collaborate in fight against match-fixing

A new agreement will provide police with real-time information alerts from across the world to target suspicious betting activity and deter betting-related match-fixing in esports.

The Letter of Arrangement was signed between Victoria Police and esports integrity body the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in February this year.

It will allow Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) to receive real-time betting alerts from ESIC on esports events should any matches exhibit suspicious betting activity, ensuring detectives can commence an investigation as soon as possible where required.

ESIC is a not-for-profit organisation whose members include government bodies, national esports federations and tournament operators from around the world.

The organisation was established in 2015 with the specific aim of disrupting, preventing and prosecuting all forms of cheating in esports, including match manipulation and doping.

Victoria Police’s SIIU conducted the first Australian law enforcement investigation into match-fixing in esports in 2019.

Five men were charged with a range of offences including engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome and using corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.

The offences are subject to maximum penalties of 10 years’ imprisonment.

Victoria Police treats match-fixing in esports as seriously as it does traditional sport.

The 2013 amendment to the Victorian Crimes Act introduced four criminal offences directly related to corrupting the betting outcome of an event. These offences do not specify the type of sporting event, but instead refer to the corruption of a betting outcome. As such, any corruption of the betting outcome of an esports event is covered by the legislation.

Anyone with information about illegal activity is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

Quotes attributable to Assistant Commissioner Chris Gilbert – Intelligence and Covert Support Command:

“Sports gambling and esports are global industries and the international aspect can make match-fixing investigations extremely complex.

“This Letter of Arrangement will see ESIC sharing real-time suspicious betting alerts – particularly from offshore wagering operators – with our detectives, allowing for investigations into suspected match-fixing to commence almost immediately.

“Unfortunately, given the demographic of esports, players can be potentially more vulnerable targets than players involved in traditional sports.

“They are often young adults who could be more susceptible to corrupt approaches by criminal entities due to minimal prizemoney and a lack of focus on integrity and education by game developers.

“Victoria Police will continue to target the infiltration of esports by any potential offenders – including by organised crime syndicates.

“Alongside this agreement with ESIC, we’ve developed strong relationships with a number of esports stakeholders and wagering operators, and we’ll continue to work together to target any suspicious activity.

“It’s important that people understand these are significant criminal offences with substantial penalties and we will take any reports of suspicious activity seriously.”

Quotes attributable to Stephen Hanna, Director of Global Strategy at the Esports Integrity Commission:

“Collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the Esports Integrity Commission is essential to ensuring a fair and safe environment for esports competitors and fans. We commend Victoria Police’s proactive and engaged approach to working with ESIC to prevent and deter match-fixing in esports.

“Esports is a global industry that requires a global response to maintain integrity. By working together with law enforcement agencies, like Victoria Police, we can better identify and investigate suspicious betting activity and protect the integrity of esports competitions.

“This Letter of Arrangement signifies the Esports Integrity Commission and Victoria Police’s alignment on the importance of disrupting, preventing, and prosecuting match-fixing in esports. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Victoria Police and other law enforcement agencies around the world to safeguard the future of esports.”

NEWS & PRESS

February 10, 2023

GG.BET Enters 3 Year Anti-Corruption Education Partnership With ESIC

The Esports Integrity Commission is proud to announce a three-year partnership with GG.BET as its Anti-Corruption Education Partner. The partnership was unveiled at ESIC’s Global Esports Summit on 9 February 2023 and represents a major step forward in promoting integrity and preventing corruption in esports.

As part of this partnership, GG.BET will support ESIC in producing its Anti-Corruption Tutorial, which aims to educate players and stakeholders about ethical behaviour in the esports industry. The tutorial will provide a valuable resource for the industry, helping to foster a culture of integrity and transparency.

GG.BET has also expanded its Anti-Corruption Support partnership with ESIC by becoming a Tier 1 Anti-Corruption Supporter. This further reinforces GG.BET’s commitment to creating a fair and secure environment for players and stakeholders in the esports industry.

“Over the past few years, GG.BET has invested a significant amount of effort into the development of esports. We have worked closely with teams and have seen the relevance of creating a safe and fair environment to ensure healthy competition in esports,” said Dmytro Voshkarin, CEO GG.BET. ” We are pleased to be working with ESIC, a partner with whom we share a common passion for bringing integrity to esports, and we believe this tutorial will be helpful in achieving this goal.”

ESIC’s Director of Global Strategy and Partnerships, Stephen Hanna, commented, “Partnerships like this one with GG.BET are critical to our mission of promoting integrity and preventing corruption in esports. We’re grateful for their support and look forward to working together over the next three years to create a stronger, safer esports industry for all.”

The importance of anti-corruption education in esports cannot be overstated. It helps to build a culture of accountability and transparency and ensures that players and stakeholders understand the consequences of unethical behaviour. With this partnership, GG.BET is taking a leading role in promoting anti-corruption education and creating a better future for the esports industry.

 

About GG.BET

GG.BET is an international esports betting company, which was founded in 2016. The company has a brand presence in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

GG.BET plays an active role in the development of esports by supporting international tournaments, sponsoring streams and creating esports content with well-known experts, casters and influencers. It has also partnered with NAVI and Team Vitality CS:GO.

Discover the best esports betting experience on https://gg.bet/

 

About ESIC

ESIC is the recognized guardian of the integrity of esports and works to for disrupt, prevent, investigate, and prosecute of all forms of cheating and malpractice in esports, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping with the overarching objective of protecting youth, promoting industry investment and safeguarding sporting integrity in esports.

Learn more about ESIC at https://www.esic.gg

NEWS & PRESS

February 08, 2023

Denuvo by Irdeto Joins ESIC as First Anti-Cheat Partner

ESIC has announced its first ever Anti-Cheat Partnership with global games protection and anti-piracy technology provider, Denuvo by Irdeto. This partnership signals a new appetite for both organisations who will collaborate to develop a sophisticated approach to fighting cheating and match manipulation in esports. With the establishment of this partnership, Denuvo and ESIC will work together to develop a framework to implement anti-cheat technology within the esports industry. As an anti-cheat partner, Denuvo will provide ESIC with Denuvo Anti-Cheat software as well as periodic reports gauging particular data metrics related to integrity and industry risk. This will help the parties to gain insights to the industry pain points and promote fair play in esports. Denuvo will also support ESIC in its continued delivery of best practice standards and integrity frameworks for the broader esports industry.

As an anti-cheat partner, Denuvo will provide ESIC with access to its software capabilities for ESIC’s utilisation in anti-cheat applications. Denuvo will also collaborate with ESIC to publish periodic reports gauging particular data metrics related to integrity and industry risk.

 

Stephen Hanna, ESIC’s Director of Global Strategy and Partnerships, commented:

“ESIC is proud to announce this new partnership category targeted at strengthening the role of anti-cheat providers in the maintenance of competitive integrity within the esports industry. As a distinguished partner to the games industry, Denuvo is well poised as our first anti-cheat partner to work with us in finding and executing upon more sophisticated applications for anti-cheat technology to tournament operation.”

 

Steeve Huin, Chief Operating Officer Video Games Security for Irdeto said:

“We are proud to partner with ESIC to fight piracy and cheating on the fast-growing esports segment. As gamers ourselves, we at Denuvo are dedicated to bringing fairness and fun back to online gaming and are therefore thrilled to ensure the same fair game opportunities will be available for the players of esports.”

 

About ESIC

ESIC is the recognized guardian of the integrity of esports and works to for disrupt, prevent, investigate, and prosecute of all forms of cheating and malpractice in esports, including, but not limited to, match manipulation and doping with the overarching objective of protecting youth, promoting industry investment and safeguarding sporting integrity in esports.

Learn more about ESIC at https://www.esic.gg

About Irdeto

Irdeto is the world leader in digital platform cybersecurity, empowering businesses to innovate for a secure, connected future. Building on over 50 years of expertise in security, Irdeto’s services and solutions protect revenue, enable growth and fight cybercrime in video entertainment, video games, and connected industries, including transport, health and infrastructure. With teams around the world, Irdeto’s greatest asset is its people and diversity is celebrated through an inclusive workplace, where everyone has an equal opportunity to drive innovation and support Irdeto’s success. Irdeto is the preferred security partner to empower a secure world where people can connect with confidence.

Denuvo is part of Irdeto.

For more information about, visit  https://irdeto.com/denuvo/.

 

NEWS & PRESS

December 02, 2022

ESIC Announces the return of the ESIC Global Esports Summit taking place in London in February 2023

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), is pleased to announce the return of its ESIC Global Esports Summit (EGES) which is set to take place on the 9th and 10th of February 2023 at the ExCeL, London.

The EGES 2023 will bring together various stakeholders within the esports industry including publishers, tournaments organiser, teams, non-endemics, media and more. Stakeholders are invited to discuss and debate topical issues facing the industry while also sharing expertise relevant to the future of the esports industry.

Why ESIC has created the EGES

The EGES has been created by ESIC with the purpose of becoming the place where the industry can meet to discuss, debate, collaborate and resolve industry issues in a neutral setting. As a reputable, not-for-profit industry body comprised of a broad membership of some of the largest stakeholders in the industry globally, ESIC’s intentions are to facilitate this purpose.

Commenting on the event, Stephen Hanna, Director of Global Strategy and Partnerships at ESIC said:

“The ESIC Global Esports Summit represents a great opportunity for the industry to come together on a regular basis in a neutral environment to discuss topical issues in a meaningful way. By involving a wide cross-section of the industry including key publishers, tournament organisers, teams, agents, and others, the EGES is poised to facilitate progress for the industry. We are appreciative of all the speakers that have committed to our inaugural event and commend the receptiveness of the organisations which they represent in engaging with this forum for discussion and collaboration.”

To facilitate the EGES, ESIC has partnered with Clarion Events who will be working with ESIC to produce the event for the benefit of both ESIC’s membership and the industry more broadly at no cost to ESIC’s operational budget. 

 

What can be expected by the EGES 

The EGES is aimed at delivering critical insights through deep subject matter expertise. A key objective of the conference is to provide a meaningful knowledge exchange for all established esports stakeholders. Accordingly, ESIC has worked to ensure that the conference will not include any ‘esports 101’ subject matter. 

The EGES 2022 will comprise of two main content streams: 

 

The Main Stage 

Hear critical insights from industry leading subject matter experts. Strictly no esports 101. The Main stage will be the centrepiece of the event with over 15 thought leaders from around the world coming together to present meaningful keynote style presentations on important esports topics.

 

Think Tank 

Returning after a successful showing this year, the Think Tank will change slightly in format into a significantly more intimate and collaborative workshop session with key industry experts deep-diving certain topical issues facing the esports industry. 

 

Get your tickets now at www.eges.gg.

NEWS & PRESS

November 29, 2022

ESIC Release

On 19 August 2021, Nicolai Petersen was the subject of a 2year participation ban imposed by ESIC

On 29 November 2022, the parties met in person in order to discuss matters arising from that participation ban. The meeting was conducted in good faith and in a collaborative spirit. While the parties were in disagreement on certain matters, both parties recognised the importance of integrity to the thriving Esports industry

Following discussions between the parties, Mr Petersen has agreed to undertake relevant training and ESIC has confirmed that it will review its policies and procedures to ensure they are consistent with good industry practice and fit for purpose. In light of the constructive engagement between the parties, Mr Petersen will return to participation in ESIC member events with immediate effect

This statement supersedes any and all previous public statements made by the parties on this matterand the parties will make no further comment on this matter

NEWS & PRESS

May 28, 2022

ESIC ISSUES FINAL DETERMINATION REGARDING LUIS “peacemaker” TADEU FOR FAILURE TO REPORT FREE ROAM BUG

OVERVIEW:

On 5th May 2022 ESIC issued a Notice of Charge (“NOC”) to Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu and provisionally suspended him from all ESIC member events pending final determination of the notified charges against him arising from his interaction with the Free-Roam Spectator Bug encountered in CS:GO competition in March 2018.

ESIC Commissioner, Ian Smith, received and reviewed Mr Tadeu’s reply to the charge and determined as follows:

  • On balance of probabilities, Mr Tadeu satisfied the Commissioner that he did not use the bug to cheat or gain any advantage over the opponents in the relevant match. Consequently, the charge of breach of Art 2.4.4 of the Code of Conduct has been withdrawn.
  • Mr Tadeu accepts that he is guilty of breach of Art 2.4.5 of the Code of Conduct inasmuch as he failed to take appropriate action during or after the relevant match to bring the bug to the attention of the relevant authorities.
  • Consequently, the Commissioner offered and Mr Tadeu accepted a sanction of time served (22 days) under provisional suspension as the appropriate sanction for his breach (see Commissioner’s note below for further insight into the sanction imposed on Mr Tadeu).

ESIC makes this statement as the public notification of a Final Determination in the Free-Roam Spectator Bug matter concerning Mr Tadeu.

 

EVIDENCE RELIED UPON – DECLASSIFIED AS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION

In making its Final Determination, ESIC relied upon the following evidence:

 Luis “peacemaker” Tadeu:

Did not act in an appropriate manner in response to a CS:GO free roam camera bug on 6 March 2018 during a match between Heroic and Imperial held at the ECS Season 5 Europe Challenger Cup (Conduct).

 Evidence:

Team Enemy Team Tournament Date Map Round Start Round End Total Rounds Match Link Video Link
Heroic Imperial ECS Season 5 Europe Challenger Cup 6-Mar-18 Inferno 1-0 2-0 1 Link

 

Link

 Final Determined Sanction: Suspension from all ESIC Member events for a period of 22 days ending 26th May 2022 (time served under provisional suspension).

 

COMMISSIONER’S COMMENT

“In response to ESIC’s Notice of Charge notifying Mr Tadeu of ESIC’s intended sanctions against him for his Conduct, Mr Tadeu promptly provided a comprehensive and detailed reply including expert testimony and character evidence. I found the evidence compelling, and this resulted in me issuing a Final Determination setting out the lesser charge of breach of Article 2.4.5 of the ESIC Code of Conduct.

 It is my strongly held view that, as senior stewards of the game of CS:GO and influential members of the CS:GO and esports community, people in Mr Tadeu’s position owe a professional duty of care to the game and the community to act responsibly and appropriately to protect the integrity of the game. In this case, I found that Mr Tadeu’s behaviour with respect to the bug fell short of the required standard and his acceptance of guilt on this lesser charge is to his credit.

In determining the sanction, I was mindful that Mr Tadeu missed the Antwerp Major as a result of PGL and Valve’s decision to suspend him from the event and, consequently, whilst conduct of the kind Mr Tadeu engaged in should ordinarily result in a higher sanction of more than 22 days suspension, in these particular circumstances, I believe 22 days is appropriate and proportionate.”

 

 EXPLANATORY NOTE: HOW ESIC HAS DEALT WITH THE SPECTATOR BUG VARIANTS

On 5 May 2022, ESIC issued a release contextualising upcoming sanction activity relating to the Historical Spectator Bug Investigation. Importantly, ESIC set out its stances on each of the three Spectator Bug Variants (Static, Free Roam, Third Person) as well as its intended penalty mechanism. It is apparent to ESIC that, notwithstanding ESIC’s detailed statement made on 5 May 2022, there may be residual confusion regarding the way that ESIC has dealt with the Spectator Bug Variants.

In the general public interest, ESIC sets out a further explanatory note below:

When issuing a charge against a participant for the Static or Third Person Spectator Bug Variants, it was noted that ESIC does not view the outcome of an unfair advantage being achieved as a necessary factor of the threat created by the two variants. Rather, the mere potential for exploitation and its utilisation by the affected participants created an opportunity for an unfair advantage which should have been immediately rectified. ESIC firmly holds the view that it is not only reasonably necessary, but a basic expectation of any participant operating in a professional setting to immediately rectify any form of game breaking bug or occurrence that should otherwise not have occurred. ESIC will continue to hold participants to this most basic standard of competitive integrity.

 Noting the above, ESIC clearly distinguished, in its release on 5 May 2022, the Free Roam Bug as a Spectator Bug Variant which ESIC intended to penalise as a cheating offense under the Code of Conduct.

As stated in the release of 5 May 2022: “In the Commissioner’s view, an affected participant utilising the Free Roam variant intentionally can reasonably be said to have been engaging in a behaviour that was cheating or attempting to cheat to win a Game or Match, which is far more serious than the other two Spectator Bug Variants.”

Accordingly, it is abundantly clear that any notice of charge issued for a Free-Roam instance of the Spectator Bug Variant reasonably asserts that the participant engaged in behaviour that was cheating or an attempt to cheat to win a Game or Match. Therefore, it follows, that any such charge (unlike those set out for the Static or Third Person Spectator Bug Variants) asserts that the outcome of an unfair advantage being achieved is a necessary precondition for the charge being established.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE: HOW ESIC HAS DEALT WITH NOTICES OF CHARGE FOR THIS MATTER

ESIC has not received any appeals relating to its notices of charge. It has, however, received replies to its notices of charge. In the general public interest, ESIC sets out a short explanatory note identifying the process undertaken for the recent sanction activity, related to the Historical Spectator Bug Investigation, carried out from 5 May 2022 onwards.

Process of notifying a charge and resolving a final determination:

  1. ESIC notifies individuals via a Notice of Charge (sets out offending conduct, the intended sanction and grants a window opportunity for a reply).
  2. ESIC makes a public interest disclosure (PID) relating to its intended sanction activity regarding the participants, with the detail ESIC deems as being required, to serve the public interest purpose.
  3. Respondent may reply within the reply window.
  4. ESIC assesses any reply received, engages with respondent (if appropriate).
  5. ESIC notifies respondent of final determination regarding notified charge (usually in the form of a Final Determination Notice) and notifies respondent of appeal mechanism available to them with the Independent Appeals Panel.
  6. ESIC makes, at its sole discretion, a final release notifying the result of the Final Determination Notice.

In the scenario of the notices handed to three coaches on 6 May 2022, it is important to note that:

  1. The Notices of Charge are not a charge or sanction against the participants. Rather they are notices of an intended charge with an intended sanction.
  2. The Notices of Charge may include provisional suspensions in circumstances where participation, by the charged individual, in ESIC Member Events is undesirable in that it may be reasonably said to further jeopardise the competitive integrity or reputation of ESIC’s Member Events.
    1. Importantly: ESIC’s duty is to the competitive integrity of its Member Events. Accordingly, ESIC will always take the necessary actions to mitigate such exposure to its Members, including but not limited to imposing a provisional suspension. ESIC does not, and has no desire to, mandate the observation of its provisional suspensions on any non-member. Any such voluntary observation is solely the decision of the non-member.
  3. In the instance of the Free-Roam Spectator Bug Variant, it would be entirely unreasonable to suggest that an individual who is notified about ESIC’s intended sanction regarding an alleged cheating offence should go without a provisional suspension pending ESIC’s Final Determination. Put simply, when ESIC is of the view that there is sufficient and compelling evidence (irrespective of the passage of time required to build the case to ESIC’s satisfaction), ESIC will notify the individual about the case being made against them. Following that, ESIC may choose to provisionally suspend the individual from participation in ESIC Member Events, if such participation creates a threat to competitive integrity whether perceived or actual.

 

IMPORTANT REMINDER REGARDING PUBLIC COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS INTERACTING WITH ESIC REGARDING SANCTIONING ACTIVITIES

ESIC seeks to issue a reminder to all participants interacting with ESIC regarding sanctioning activities, that it is inappropriate to publicly comment regarding a confidential matter prior to ESIC issuing a Final Determination. This includes but is not limited to details of discussions, negotiations, evidence, agreements or other matters relating to the resolution of a charge against a participant. Any such premature public comment may, in itself, constitute a breach of the Code.

 

NEWS & PRESS

May 05, 2022

ESIC TO ISSUE CHARGES RESULTING FROM HISTORICAL SPECTATOR BUG INVESTIGATION

OVERVIEW

On 28 September 2020, ESIC issued sanctions against 37 coaches for abuse of a bug in CS:GO’s spectator mode (Spectator Bug). ESIC’s investigation into the historical abuse of the Spectator Bug comprised of approximately 99,650 video demos (approx. 15.2TB of data). Following ESIC’s first release, on 27 January 2021, Valve ratified ESIC’s investigative findings with their own statement. As ESIC continued in its investigation, it further uncovered two additional bugs associated with the Spectator Bug (the 3rd Person Spectator Bug and the Free Roam Bug).

This statement identifies ESIC’s stance relating to sanctions for the three forms of Spectator Bug discovered during the ESIC’s historical investigation. Accordingly, the statement will include information on the Static Spectator Bug, Third-Person Spectator Bug, and Free-Roam Spectator Bug (collectively referred to as “Spectator Bug Variants”).

 

WHY ESIC HAS OPTED TO MAKE AN INTERIM STATEMENT AHEAD OF FINALISING THE SPECTATOR BUG MATTER

While ESIC is aware that the Spectator Bug matter has been active for an extended period of time, it has been deemed necessary that ESIC make an interim release ahead of ESIC’s upcoming enforcement activity in the public interest.

It is essential that a transparent public record of ESIC’s classification and treatment of the Spectator Bug Variants is available ahead of any new charges laid by ESIC against esports participants. Accordingly, within this statement, and for each Spectator Bug Variant, ESIC intends to set out:

  1. Details of the nature of the specific Spectator Bug Variant;
  2. ESIC’s assessment of the impact of the Spectator Bug Variant on competitive integrity; and
  3. ESIC’s penalty mechanism corresponding to that specific Spectator Bug Variant

In doing so, this statement will serve as necessary pretext for future enforcement activity relating to each of the Spectator Bug Variants.

 

STATIC SPECTATOR BUG VARIANT

Nature of the Static Spectator Bug and Impact on Competitive Integrity

This Spectator Bug Variant affects 47 participants who were not amongst the 37 charged in 2020. This means that this Spectator Bug Variant affects 84 participants in total.

The nature of the Static Spectator Bug was such that it placed a coach in a random position on the map at the start of a round while equipping the affected participant with control over the viewport at that position. As a result of this bug, the affected participant was conferred an unfair advantage in that they possessed a viewport angle that they should not have had. Such an advantage may have attributed to information being obtained that would otherwise not have been obtained.

ESIC’s Commissioner is of the view that the occurrence of this bug posed a moderate to high level of competitive integrity risk. This was due to the frequency and duration in which the bug was exploited which suggested that the bug was capable of being triggered and/or was a frequently occurring phenomenon. During ESIC’s investigation, it was observed that the Static Spectator Bug was triggered for 1,311 rounds in 98 matches. ESIC’s investigation identified that, where the Static Spectator Bug occurred, it occurred for an average of 13 rounds. This meant that the affected participant could have, on average, 13 rounds of unfair advantage conferred to them.

It is important to note that ESIC does not view the outcome of an unfair advantage being achieved as a necessary factor of the threat created by the Static Spectator Bug. Rather, the mere potential for exploitation and its utilisation by the affected participants created an unrectified opportunity for an unfair advantage.

ESIC’s Penalty Mechanism

ESIC is committed to the consistent application of the previously adopted Sanctions Matrix, first notified in ESIC’s 28 September 2020 Release. Accordingly, the ESIC Commissioner has considered it appropriate to apply the Sanctions Matrix to determine the Intended Sanctions for the balance of participants in breach of ESIC’s Code in the Static  variant of the Spectator Bug.

It is noted that, given the potentially serious nature of the infringements being prosecuted with respect to this variant, those participants charged will be provisionally suspended from ESIC Member events pending resolution of the charges.

 

FREE-ROAM SPECTATOR BUG VARIANT

Nature of the Free-Roam Spectator Bug and Impact on Competitive Integrity

This Spectator Bug Variant affects 3 participants.

ESIC notes that the Free-Roam Spectator Bug variant is distinguished in its treatment in this investigation from the other variants in the following way:

  • The Free Roam variant enabled the user to fly around the map at the complete control of the user;
  • Accordingly, the user was able to navigate the bug in an uninhibited manner;
  • The form and function of the bug was such that it resembled a mechanism that could confer a severe and unfair advantage to the user;
  • It is reasonable to assume that a CS:GO professional would hold that the user of such a bug would be equipped with a severe and unfair advantage the like of which could not ever have been attained utilising the game’s mechanics intended for competitive play;
  • The Free Roam bug therefore resembled the transfer of a benefit akin to that of a map hack, wall hack, or other cheat.

In the Commissioner’s view, an affected participant utilising the Free Roam variant intentionally can reasonably be said to have been engaging in a behaviour that was cheating or attempting to cheat to win a Game or Match, which is far more serious than the other two Spectator Bug Variants.

ESIC’s Penalty Mechanism

Due to the distinct and particularly egregious nature of the Free Roam Spectator Bug, the Commissioner holds that the application of the Sanctions Matrix is inappropriate. Accordingly, any such behaviour by an esports participant will not be subject to a sanction that is determined by the Sanctions Matrix but will, instead, be subject to a sanction determined under 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 of the Code of Conduct (Cheating Offenses). In accordance with ESIC’s Codes, cheating offenses of this nature may carry a sanction of up to 24 months subject to the discretion of the Commissioner.

It should be noted that, given the serious nature of the offences being charged in respect to this variant and the clear evidence available, ESIC is provisionally suspending these three participants from all ESIC Member events pending resolution of the charges.

 

THIRD-PERSON SPECTATOR BUG VARIANT

Nature of the Third-Person Spectator Bug and Impact on Competitive Integrity

This Spectator Bug Variant affects 47 participants.

The Third-Person Spectator Bug was unique when compared to the other Spectator Bug Variants in that it appeared to be triggered by a server software issue on two particular CS:GO tournament platforms. The Third-Person Spectator Bug allowed the affected participant to observe the game from a locked third-person view of their team’s players. The affected participant was able to cycle between players, altering their viewport accordingly. Further, the affected participant was able to manipulate their view port around the player’s axis in a 360-degree range of motion.

The Commissioner observed that in each circumstance where the Third-Person Spectator Bug was triggered, the bug lasted for one round only. In every case observed by ESIC, the participant disconnected at the end of the affected round or became un-bugged at the end of the round. This was significantly different than the 13-round average associated with the Spectator Bug. Accordingly, the Commissioner considers that the Third-Person Spectator Bug should be distinguished from the other two Spectator Bug Variants as posing a relatively low risk to competitive integrity. It should also be noted that this bug could not be triggered by any participant – all participants found themselves bugged, rather than seeking it out. What is of relevance here is how the participants chose to react to finding themselves bugged. What they should have done was paused the round, disconnected and reconnected under supervision of the admin and with notice to the competitors. What the participants being prosecuted chose to do was remain in the bug until the end of the round. This is unacceptable and, in the Commissioner’s view a breach of the Code of Conduct.

Despite a low risk being posed to competitive integrity, the Commissioner is of the view that all bug related occurrences regardless of apparent harm (or harmlessness) should, in a professional setting, be dealt with swiftly and immediately. The Commissioner takes the firm view that esports should hold no room for complacency with such matters and accordingly seeks to apply a penalty to those who did not adequately deal with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage during an occurrence of the Third-Person Spectator Bug.

ESIC’s Penalty Mechanism

In ESIC’s investigation, it was determined that the Third-Person Spectator Bug occurred a total of 97 times. This, again, is significantly different to the 1,311 times the Static Spectator Bug was triggered. Accordingly, it is inappropriate to apply the Sanctions Matrix created in ESIC’s first notified in ESIC’s 28 September 2020 Release to apply enforcement action for this breach.

The Commissioner takes the view that the following penalty mechanism should be applied for occurrences of the Third-Person Spectator Bug:

1 Round Bugged = 30-day ban

In certain circumstances, participants were affected by the Third-Person Spectator Bug for less than 1 round. In those circumstances, the Commissioner will review the matter on a case-by-case basis to determine if those occurrences should be included.

An example of the application of this penalty mechanism is below:

Participant Name Rounds with Third-Person Bug Final Ban
Participant X 1 30 days
Participant Y 3 90 days

 

It is noted that, given the relatively less serious nature of this variant, participants charged with a breach of the Code of Conduct for the Third-Person Spectator Bug have NOT been provisionally suspended from ESIC Member events pending resolution of the charges.

Furthermore, it is important to note that this variant and charges related to it affects one participant at the upcoming Antwerp Major beginning on Monday 9th May. The Commissioner takes the view that it would be unfair on the participant and would yield a disproportionate consequence impacting not only the participant but their team to provisionally suspend them at this point. There are, however, three other participants at the Major who are provisionally suspended because they were involved in distinctly more serious variants as described in this statement.

 

NEXT STEPS RELATING TO THIS STATEMENT

ESIC will make a series of releases that notify charges that ESIC intends to impose on the affected participants. ESIC will place a notice for anticipated releases on its Open Investigations Register located here.

NEWS & PRESS

April 07, 2022

ESPORTS INDUSTRY GATHERS FOR INAUGURAL ESIC GLOBAL ESPORTS SUMMIT IN LONDON NEXT WEEK

OVERVIEW:

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) in collaboration with key stakeholders from the global esports industry, is launching the inaugural ESIC Global Esports Summit (EGES) 2022.

The conference was established by ESIC to become the meeting place and knowledge share hub for the global esports industry. The event is taking place at the ExCeL, London over 2 days on the 13-14 of April 2022, bringing together peers from across the esports industry.

 

EVENT STRUCTURE

The EGES will feature subject matter expert speakers delivering specialised insights across two content streams, as well as host a collection of closed-door industry meetings designed to achieve tangible progress towards several key challenges to integrity in esports.

Day 1 of the EGES will begin with an invitation only ESIC Masterclass on Crime, Fraud and Esports. Featuring guests from law enforcement, governmental bodies and ESIC Anti-Corruption Supporters, the masterclass will delve into the successes and challenges the industry has experienced, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.

Day 2 is EGES’ main conference day, featuring two specialised content streams: Main Stage keynote sessions and  the EGES Think Tank, where dialogue between experts across the industry aims to foster new insights. The day will also include many closed door meetings to channel the event’s collaboration into future action.

Publisher Riot Games and tournament organisers ESL, BLAST and FACEIT bring their expertise as central entities in esports’ competitive structure. Fnatic and Entropiq offer insight into commercialisation and operating teams in the context of competitive integrity.

PandaScore addresses data integrity and combatting match-fixing from the data supplier perspective. Prominent investors, agencies, non-endemic organisations and media outlets will also provide their knowledge and expertise on regarding the many business and economic facets that plug into the competitive space.

 

KEY SPEAKERS ON THE MAIN STAGE

 The EGES will be a landmark esports industry event, giving attendees an opportunity to hear from the industry’s top thought leaders. The Main Stage will be the centrepiece of the conference with over 15 high profile esports thought leaders from around the world coming together to present meaningful keynote presentations on critical esports topics, sharing the depth of their background and personal experiences.

A must-see session on the agenda is that of Michał Blicharz, the VP Pro Gaming at ESL. He will be recounting his experiences in managing and developing the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) tournament, the world’s oldest and most prestigious pro gaming tour, watched by 55 million people across 180 countries each year.

Michał will be sharing his personal journey with IEM and how it survived the COVID-19 pandemic in the session ‘Katowice: The Making of an Event’.

Commenting on what you can look forward to at his session, Michał said:

“In 2013 the prospect of a stadium event hardly looked like a guaranteed slam dunk. Today, you could say that the history of ESL is divided into two distinct eras: what came before Intel Extreme Masters Katowice and what came after. Join me at the ESIC Global Esports Summit as I talk about the lessons we’ve learned between founding the event, transitioning the main tournament from League of Legends to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and navigating it through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Another notable speaker presenting to EGES attendees will be David Harris, the Managing Director of Guinevere Capital. David will be sharing his personal experiences on the Main Stage with his session on ‘Investing in Esports’.

Speaking on his session and attendance at the conference, David commented:

“After 2 years of disruption with the pandemic, I’m really looking forward to joining an in-person event focused on the esports sector.  There will be much to discuss with investment and consolidation in the esports and gaming sector reaching new heights over recent months, along with the increased focus on the metaverse and web 3.0.  It’s an exciting time for the industry with both new challenges and opportunities arriving”.

For more information about the Main Stage content at the EGES, visit:

https://www.eges.gg/mainstage

 

KEY SPEAKERS ON THE THINK TANK

The EGES will also feature a highly insightful ESIC Think Tank content track. The ESIC Think Tank is a debate style panel session where subject matter experts discuss a topical issue relevant to their area of expertise, aiming to progress the industry’s understanding of the issue. One of these topics includes ‘Tournaments in a Post COVID-19 World’, where leading esports tournament operators discuss how COVID-19 has affected their tournaments as well as exploring the ongoing ramifications of the pandemic on the future of esports.

The all-star cast joining this Think Tank discussion include: Michele Attisani, Co-Founder and CEO of FACEIT, James Dean, Director UK Strategy at ESL Gaming and Andrew Haworth, Commissioner of BLAST Premier. 

Andrew Haworth shared his thoughts about what attendees can look forward to at the conference:

‘Firstly I’m excited to be getting back to in-person conferences and being able to hear from colleagues across the industry on the challenges, success stories and learnings from the Covid era. Secondly I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences of delivering a range of tournaments during that era, what we’ll take from this going forward and what mistakes we’ve made and hopefully what we learnt from those mistakes.’

The Think Tank will also bring other interesting topics to the EGES such as the ‘Trends in Commercialising Esports: A Team’s Perspective’ session. In this session, top esports teams such as Fnatic discuss the importance of developing strong brands to create sustainable businesses. Edward Gregory, Senior Partnership Manager at Fnatic will share how he authentically connects brands to fans, through innovative content and activations to leave a lasting impression. Edward adds:

“I am incredibly excited to be speaking at the ESIC Global Esports Summit this year, the work they are doing in the space to bring legitimacy to all aspects of the industry is brilliant. Having worked in traditional sports as well as esports I look forward to sharing some of the insights I have gained as well as showcase the significant positive trajectory the industry is on, leaning on experiences I have gained from our industry leading partnership at Fnatic”  

For more information about the Think Tank content at the EGES, visit:

https://www.eges.gg/think-tank

 

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