ESIC Gold Standard Regulation Principles
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Fundamental Components of the Gold Standard
- 3. Application Procedure
- 4. Fee for Audit and Accreditation
- 5. Scope of Application
- 6. The Gold Standard
- 6.1. ITEM 1 - Physical Studio Security and Access
- 6.2. ITEM 2 - Surveillance and CCTV Coverage
- 6.3. ITEM 3 - Communication Device Restrictions
- 6.4. ITEM 4 - Event Oversight and Personnel Requirements
- 6.5. ITEM 5 - Game Settings and Fair Play
- 6.6. ITEM 6 - Employee Contracts and Background Checks
- 6.7. ITEM 7 - Player Skill and Expertise Verification
- 6.8. ITEM 8 - Direct Communication Protocols
- 6.9. ITEM 9 - Player Predictability and Volatility Reporting
- 6.10. ITEM 10 - Incentives and Player Motivation
- 6.11. ITEM 11 - Staff Code of Conduct
- 6.12. ITEM 12 - Collaboration with ESIC and Reporting Mechanisms
- 7. Conclusion
The Gold Standard for Betting Related Esports Products has been established by ESIC in response to the distinct integrity challenges associated with hosting esports matches specifically tailored for offering betting products to betting operators and, from there, to betting customers.
Any circumstances in which players are employed to compete against one another to create markets for wagering on that competition, present the tournament organiser with a myriad of potential issues related to the integrity of that competition. Competitive integrity is fundamental to the credibility and commercial success of the product, but it is easy to see how bettors might be incentivised to try and persuade players to manipulate match outcomes to guarantee certain bets winning. The Gold Standard for managing these matches provides a series of measures that aim to deter and prevent such potential efforts to manipulate outcomes and ensure these matches have the highest level of competitive integrity possible.
These measures range from tight contractual obligations and rules for the physical environment, data management, personal and equipment security, anti-cheat measures, oversight, training, and education.
The Gold Standard will only be awarded to tournament organisers of this sort of product that comply with various measures and rules that make up the standard as audited and certified by ESIC.
The Gold Standard is a Living Concept, subject to updates and amendment as the Holders and ESIC gain experience and insight into the practical implementation and rollout of this type of betting product.
In addition, ESIC will learn from the investigation and prosecutions of breaches of the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code by players or other staff employed or engaged by the Gold Standard Holders, as well as tournament organisers of similar products who do not meet the Gold Standard.
Holders of the Gold Standard are subject to annual review to ensure the Standard is being upheld and ESIC may remove the accreditation if there is substantial failure to implement or abide by any element of the Gold Standard.
2. Fundamental Components of the Gold Standard
• Studio Security and Access
• Surveillance and CCTV Coverage
• Communication Device Restrictions
• Event Oversight and Personnel Requirements
• Game Settings and Fair Play
• Referee Training and Guidelines
• Employee Contracts and Background Checks
• Direct Communication Protocols
• Player Skill and Expertise
• Player Predictability and Volatility Reporting
• Incentives and Player Motivation
• Staff Code of Conduct
• Collaboration with ESIC and Suspicious Betting Alert Network
• Consequences for Violating the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code
3. Application Procedure
Any tournament organiser wishing to be accredited as complying with the Gold Standard should apply via email to ESIC at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following detail:
• Full name and registered address of the corporate entity
• Full name, email address and telephone number of the key contact
• A list of the games it is intended to offer
• The physical location address of the operational centre
ESIC will then arrange an initial meeting to discuss the logistics of the audit process and timings.
4. Fee for Audit and Accreditation
The cost of the audit for compliance and accreditation for the first year of award is USD $10,000 and reimbursement of the cost of necessary travel and accommodation for ESIC officers for inspection of physical locations.
Payment of the fee and costs does not guarantee the awarding of the Gold Standard if the audit concludes that the applicant organisation does not comply with the Gold Standard provisions. Any re-audit required to check compliance after implementation of additional measures shall be charged on a time spent basis at USD $1,000 per day with one full day being the minimum feeand reimbursement of the cost of necessary travel and accommodation for ESIC officers for inspection of physical locations.
The cost of Annual Renewal compliance checks and re-award of accreditation (assuming continued compliance) shall be USD $5,000and reimbursement of the cost of necessary travel and accommodation for ESIC officers for inspection of physical locations.
These fees and costs are separate from any annual ESIC membership subscription fee. To be clear, membership of ESIC is not mandatory for organisations applying for or holding the Gold Standard.
5. Scope of Application
The Gold Standard’s guidelines are not limited to a specific segment of the esports industry. Instead, they are designed to be universally applicable to any tournament organizer that employs a consistent group of players or teams to provide matches.
The primary objective of these matches is to create and sustain betting markets for consumers. Whether the matches are based on a single game or multiple games, the Gold Standard ensures that the integrity and fairness of the matches remain uncompromised, providing a trustworthy foundation for betting operators and consumers alike.
6. The Gold Standard
Each component is separate and vital to the award of the Gold Standard. The components are not exhaustive but serve to illustrate the fundamental components of The Gold Standard.
6.1. ITEM 1 - Physical Studio Security and Access
Ensuring the sanctity and integrity of esports matches begins with a fortified studio environment. The Gold Standard emphasizes the importance of a secure setting where matches are conducted, and players and staff operate. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Key Card/Fob Entry System: To prevent unauthorised access to participants, studios should be equipped with electronic key card or fob entry systems coded to the individual authorised personal and auditable for a minimum of 30 days from each entry. This ensures that only individuals with granted permissions can enter specific areas.
2. Access Limitations: The studio should be a restricted zone, with access granted only to essential personnel. This includes staff members, employees directly involved with the event, and the players themselves. Any deviation from this list should be documented and monitored.
3. Visitor Protocols: On the rare occasion that visitors or external parties need access to the studio, they should undergo a vetting process. This might include signing in, wearing identifiable visitor badges, and being accompanied by a staff member at all times.
By establishing a secure studio environment, the Gold Standard aims to eliminate potential external threats or influences that could compromise the integrity of the matches and ensure a safe working environment for all involved.
6.2. ITEM 2 - Surveillance and CCTV Coverage
A robust surveillance system is paramount to maintaining the integrity of esports matches and ensuring the safety of all participants. The Gold Standard underscores the significance of comprehensive CCTV coverage in and around the studio. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Comprehensive Coverage: CCTV cameras should be strategically placed to cover all areas within the studio premises. This includes gaming areas, common spaces, entry and exit points, and any other critical zones.
2. High-Quality Footage: Cameras should be of high resolution, ensuring clear and discernible footage. This is crucial for accurate monitoring and potential future investigations.
3. Footage Storage and Retention: All recordings, including matches, player interactions, and general studio activities, should be stored securely on encrypted servers. The Gold Standard recommends retaining this footage for a minimum of 30 days, allowing for retrospective reviews if necessary.
4. Live Monitoring:Dedicated personnel should be assigned to monitor the live feeds continuously, ensuring real-time detection of any suspicious or unauthorised activities. These personnel can have other functions such as administrators, referees and/or casters/analysts, but there must be at least 2 people with eyes on any match in addition to the players.
5. Backup Systems: Given the critical nature of surveillance, backup systems should be in place to ensure continuous recording in case of power failures or technical glitches.
6. Privacy Considerations: All individuals should be made aware of the areas under surveillance.
By implementing a rigorous surveillance and CCTV coverage system, the Gold Standard aims to deter potential malpractices, ensure the safety of participants, and provide a transparent environment conducive to fair play.
6.3. ITEM 3 - Communication Device Restrictions
In the digital age, communication devices can be both a boon and a potential source of compromise, especially in the context of esports matches where the stakes are high. The Gold Standard recognizes this and sets forth stringent guidelines to manage and restrict the use of such devices within the studio. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. No Devices in Studios: To prevent potential cheating, external influence, or unauthorized communication, players, staff, and other relevant personnel are strictly prohibited from bringing any communication devices into the gaming and studio areas. This includes mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, and any other electronic communication tools.
2. Secure Storage: At the commencement of each shift, match, or event, all communication devices should be handed over and securely locked away in designated storage areas. These devices can only be retrieved at the end of the shift or event.
3. Clear Signage: To ensure everyone is aware of this restriction, clear signs should be displayed at all entry points of the studio, reminding individuals to deposit their devices before entering.
4. Exceptions: In rare cases where a device is essential for the event or match (e.g., for event coordination), it should be vetted, approved, and monitored to ensure it’s used solely for its intended purpose.
5. Immediate Action: Any violations of this policy should be dealt with promptly. This might include immediate removal of the individual from the studio or even potential disqualification, depending on the nature and severity of the breach.
By enforcing these communication device restrictions, the Gold Standard aims to eliminate potential avenues for foul play, ensuring that the integrity of the matches remains uncompromised and that all participants compete on an even playing field.
6.4. ITEM 4 - Event Oversight and Personnel Requirements
Ensuring the integrity and fairness of esports matches requires vigilant oversight by dedicated personnel. The Gold Standard emphasises the need for a robust monitoring system, overseen by trained and independent individuals. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Independent Oversight: Each event should have a minimum of four personnel, independent from the players, present to oversee and monitor all aspects of the event. Their primary role is to ensure adherence to rules, fair play, and to detect any anomalies or suspicious activities.
2. Trained Referees: Matches should be invigilated by referees who have undergone training in line with ESIC guidelines and/or education. These referees are responsible for ensuring that the game progresses fairly, that rules are followed, and for making critical decisions during the match.
3. Neutral Stance: It’s imperative that the overseeing personnel remain neutral, having no affiliations or biases towards any team or player. This ensures unbiased judgment and rule enforcement.
4. Continuous Training: The esports industry is dynamic, with games and rules evolving over time. As such, continuous training sessions should be provided to the personnel to keep them updated with the latest developments and best practices.
5. Communication Channels: Clear communication channels should be established between the oversight personnel, tournament organisers, and other stakeholders. This ensures swift resolution of any issues that may arise during the event.
6. Feedback Mechanism: Post-event reviews should be conducted, allowing the oversight personnel to provide feedback, report any challenges faced, and suggest improvements for future events.
By implementing rigorous event oversight and setting strict personnel requirements, the Gold Standard ensures that esports matches are conducted with the highest levels of integrity, transparency, and fairness, fostering trust among players, stakeholders, and the audience.
6.5. ITEM 5 - Game Settings and Fair Play
The essence of esports lies in the competitive spirit and the challenge of skills on a level playing field. To ensure that every match is fair and unbiased, the Gold Standard emphasises the importance of controlled and consistent game settings. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Controlled Settings: Every game should be played with fixed settings that are predetermined and standardized. This ensures that no team or player has an unfair advantage due to variable game conditions.
2. Transparency: All game settings, including difficulty levels, game modes, and any other relevant parameters, should be disclosed to the players well in advance. This allows players to prepare adequately and ensures transparency in the competition.
3. Regular Audits: Game settings should be periodically reviewed and audited to ensure they remain consistent, fair, and in line with the latest industry standards.
4. Anti-cheat Mechanisms: Advanced anti-cheat software should be employed to detect and prevent any attempts to manipulate the game settings or use unauthorized tools.
5. Feedback Loop: Players and teams should have a platform to provide feedback on game settings. This ensures that any concerns or suggestions can be addressed promptly.
6. Immediate Redressal: In the event of any discrepancies or issues related to game settings during a match, there should be mechanisms in place for immediate redressal. This might include pausing the match, rectifying the settings, and resuming play.
By meticulously managing game settings and emphasizing fair play, the Gold Standard ensures that the outcome of every esports match is a true reflection of skill, strategy, and teamwork, devoid of any external influences or biases.
6.6. ITEM 6 - Employee Contracts and Background Checks
To maintain the integrity and reputation of esports events, it’s crucial to ensure that all employees, from staff to referees, are trustworthy and uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. The Gold Standard underscores the importance of thorough background checks for all employees involved in the event and good contractual provisions that encourage and enforce integrity. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. DBS Checks: All employees, irrespective of their roles, should undergo full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. This ensures that they have no disqualifying criminal history that could compromise the integrity of the event.
2. Reference Verification: Before hiring, references provided by potential employees should be thoroughly checked and verified. This provides additional assurance of the employee’s credibility and past conduct.
3. Training and Certification: Once onboarded, employees should undergo training sessions tailored to their specific roles. For roles like referees, certifications in line with ESIC guidelines should be mandatory.
4. Employment Contracts:All players and staff with access to or responsibility for the relevant matches must have clear contracts of employment that contain prohibitions on corrupt behaviour and serious consequences for corrupt behaviour that, in any way, undermines the integrity of the matches played for betting purposes. In addition, given the sensitive nature of information the employees might handle, the contracts should contain provisions ensuring they do not disclose or misuse any proprietary or insider information.
5. Code of Conduct: Beyond background checks, every employee should be made to sign a code of conduct that outlines the ethical standards and behaviours expected of them and acknowledges that they are bound by and will comply with the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code. This serves as a constant reminder of their responsibilities and the trust placed in them and the consequences of breaching their obligations.
6. Continuous Monitoring: Even after the initial checks and training, there should be mechanisms in place for continuous monitoring of employee conduct. Regular feedback sessions and performance reviews can help in this regard.
7. Whistleblower Policies: Employees should be encouraged to report any suspicious activities or misconduct they observe. A whistleblower policy, ensuring anonymity and protection from retaliation, can facilitate this.
By implementing rigorous background checks and setting clear expectations for employee conduct, the Gold Standard ensures that every individual involved in the esports event contributes positively to its success and upholds the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
6.7. ITEM 7 - Player Skill and Expertise Verification
Ensuring the credibility and competitiveness of esports matches requires that participating players possess the necessary skills and expertise. The Gold Standard emphasizes the importance of verifying the proficiency of players to maintain the integrity of the competition. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Skill Assessment:Players should undergo rigorous skill assessments to ensure they possess the necessary expertise. This includes their ability to play at professional levels against AI/Computers and compete effectively against other elite players.
2. Predictability Tracking: To maintain the unpredictability and excitement of matches, player performance should be tracked through volatility reporting. This ensures that no patterns emerge that could hint at potential foul play or collusion.
3. Incentive Structures:Players should be provided with sufficient incentives to win. This not only motivates them to perform at their best but also deters any potential compromises in gameplay.
4. Continuous Training:Players should have access to training resources and sessions to hone their skills further. This ensures that they remain competitive and up-to-date with the latest strategies and game updates.
5. Feedback Mechanism: A platform should be established where players can provide feedback, raise concerns, or seek guidance. This fosters a supportive environment where players can focus on improving and delivering their best performance.
6. Transparency: All processes related to skill verification, training, and incentives should be transparent. Players should be aware of the criteria they are evaluated against and the rewards they stand to gain.
7. Regular Audits: The skill and expertise verification processes should be audited periodically to ensure they remain relevant, fair, and in line with industry standards.
By emphasizing the verification of player skill and expertise, the Gold Standard ensures that esports matches are genuinely competitive, fair, and a true testament to the abilities of the participants.
6.8. ITEM 8 - Direct Communication Protocols
Effective communication is the backbone of ensuring seamless operations, especially in the dynamic world of esports. The Gold Standard emphasizes the importance of direct and transparent communication channels. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Real-time Issue Resolution: Direct communication channels between tournament organizers and betting operators facilitate swift resolution of any real-time challenges or discrepancies that may arise during events.
2. Trading Partner/Team Collaboration: A dedicated trading partner or team acts as the bridge between tournament organisers and betting operators. This ensures that any concerns related to betting patterns or other relevant matters are promptly addressed.
3. Transparent Reporting: All communications, especially those concerning betting patterns or potential integrity issues, should be documented meticulously. This ensures accountability and provides a clear record for future reference.
4. Feedback Mechanism: Regular feedback sessions between tournament organisers and betting operators help in refining processes, addressing concerns, and enhancing collaboration.
5. Emergency Protocols: In the event of unforeseen challenges or emergencies, predefined communication protocols ensure that all stakeholders are promptly informed and can take necessary actions without delay.
By establishing clear and direct communication protocols, the Gold Standard ensures that all parties remain informed, aligned, and can collaboratively address any challenges, ensuring the integrity and smooth execution of esports events.
6.9. ITEM 9 - Player Predictability and Volatility Reporting
Understanding playerbehaviour and performance is essential for ensuring fair play and maintaining the integrity of esports events. The Gold Standard emphasizes the importance of tracking and reporting on player predictability and volatility.The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Performance Tracking: Regularly monitor and analyse the performance of players to identify patterns, strengths, and areas of improvement. This helps in understanding the consistency and reliability of a player’s performance.
2. Volatility Reporting: Volatility in a player’s performance can be a red flag, indicating potential issues such as fatigue, external pressures, or other influencing factors. Regular volatility reports highlight any sudden or unexplained changes in a player’s performance.
3. Predictability Metrics: By assessing how often a player’s performance aligns with predictions or expectations, organisers can gauge the level of predictability. High predictability can be a sign of consistent performance, while low predictability might indicate potential external influences or irregularities.
4. Data-Driven Insights: Use the data from predictability and volatility reports to gain insights into playerbehaviour, training needs, and potential areas of concern. This data-driven approach ensures that decisions are based on concrete evidence rather than assumptions.
5. Transparency in Reporting: All reports should be made available to relevant stakeholders, ensuring transparency and fostering trust. This also allows for collaborative analysis and decision-making.
6. Continuous Review: The metrics and methods used for predictability and volatility reporting should be reviewed periodically to ensure they remain relevant and effective in capturing the nuances of player performance.
By focusing on player predictability and volatility reporting, the Gold Standard ensures that esports events remain fair, competitive, and free from undue influences, upholding the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.
6.10. ITEM 10 - Incentives and Player Motivation
Motivated players are at the heart of competitive and engaging esports events. The Gold Standard recognizes the importance of ensuring that players are adequately incentivized to perform at their best. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Performance-Based Rewards:Players should be rewarded based on their performance, ensuring that excellence is recognized and celebrated. This not only boosts morale but also encourages consistent high-level gameplay.
2. Financial Incentives: Monetary rewards, bonuses, and competitive salaries ensure that players are compensated fairly for their skills and dedication. This also helps in attracting and retaining top talent in the industry.
3. Career Growth Opportunities: Offering players opportunities for career advancement, training, and development ensures long-term commitment and motivation. This could include sponsorships, partnerships, or pathways to higher-tier tournaments.
4. Feedback and Improvement: Constructive feedback sessions help players understand their areas of strength and improvement. Knowing that their growth is a priority can be a significant motivator.
5. Emphasis on Fair Play: Ensuring that all players compete in a fair and just environment, free from external influences or cheating, ensures that genuine talent and hard work are the primary determinants of success.
By prioritising incentives and player motivation, the Gold Standard ensures that esports events showcase the best of skills, dedication, and competitive spirit, leading to thrilling matches and a vibrant esports ecosystem.
6.11. ITEM 11 - Staff Code of Conduct
The integrity and success of esports events are not solely determined by the players but also by the staff who manage, oversee, and support these events. The Gold Standard underscores the importance of a robust Staff Code of Conduct to ensure professionalism, fairness, and ethical behaviourat all times. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Ethical Behaviour: All staff members must contractually commit to upholding the highest standards of ethics, ensuring that their actions and decisions are free from bias, prejudice, or any form of corruption.
2. Transparency and Accountability: Staff should operate transparently, ensuring that their actions can withstand scrutiny. Any potential conflicts of interest must be declared and addressed promptly.
3. Respect and Fairness: Staff should treat all participants, colleagues, and stakeholders with respect and fairness, fostering an environment of mutual trust and collaboration.
4. Confidentiality: Staff members must respect and protect any confidential information they have access to, ensuring it is not disclosed without appropriate authorisation.
5. Training and Education: Regular training sessions should be conducted to keep staff updated on the latest industry standards, ethical guidelines, and best practices.
6. Anti-Corruption Measures: Staff should be educated about the risks and consequences of corruption, ensuring they are equipped to recognise and report any suspicious activities.
7. Whistleblower Protection: A system should be in place to protect staff members who report unethical or inappropriate behaviour, ensuring they can do so without fear of retaliation.
8. Continuous Review: The Staff Code of Conduct should be reviewed and updated periodically to address any new challenges or changes in the industry.
9. Adherence and Enforcement: Violations of the Code of Conduct should have clear consequences, ensuring that all staff members adhere to the guidelines and maintain the integrity of the esports events. All staff should be made aware and acknowledge in writing that they are bound by the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code which has consequences beyond their employment for any proven breach of that Code.
By implementing and enforcing a comprehensive Staff Code of Conduct, the Gold Standard ensures that every individual involved in the esports event, from organizers to support staff, contributes to its success, fairness, and reputation.
6.12. ITEM 12 - Collaboration with ESIC and Reporting Mechanisms
Collaboration with external bodies, especially the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), is crucial for maintaining the integrity and credibility of esports events. The Gold Standard emphasizes the importance of active collaboration and transparent reporting mechanisms. The detailed components for this item are set out below:
1. Active Partnership:Tournament organizers should maintain an active partnership with ESIC, ensuring that both entities are aligned in their goals and approaches to uphold esports integrity.
2. Suspicious Betting Alert Network: Collaboration with the Suspicious Betting Alert Network is essential to monitor and highlight any unusual betting patterns or potential integrity issues. This proactive approach helps in early detection and prevention of malpractices.
3. Transparent Reporting: Any potential integrity issues, suspicious activities, or breaches of the ESIC Anti-Corruption Code should be promptly reported to ESIC. This ensures that the necessary investigative and corrective measures are taken in a timely manner.
4. Feedback Loop: Regular feedback sessions should be held between the tournament organiser and ESIC. These sessions can address any concerns, share insights, and discuss potential improvements in the integrity framework.
5. Training and Workshops: ESIC can provide training sessions and workshops for tournament organisers, players, and other stakeholders. This ensures that everyone is well-informed about the latest integrity standards and best practices.
6. Badging:Accredited Gold Standard holders may display approved ESIC branding on all broadcasts and at any physical event. If any broadcast is for betting purposes, the logo shall be the ESIC Esports Betting Product Standards – GOLD STANDARD logo.
7. Public Communication: Any significant findings, actions taken, or updates related to integrity issues should be communicated transparently to the public. This fosters trust and showcases the commitment to maintaining the highest standards of integrity.
By fostering a close collaboration with ESIC and establishing clear reporting mechanisms, the Gold Standard ensures that esports events are conducted under rigorous scrutiny, upholding the values of fairness, transparency, and integrity at all times.
It is intended that Gold Standard accreditation provides the highest industry standard for this type of betting product to provide comfort to betting operators using the product and a level of safety and reliability to betting operator customers wagering on the product.
At the same time, Holders are encouraged to implement additional measures to enhance the safety and attractiveness of their products and to proactively cooperate with ESIC to improve the Gold Standard in light of practical experience.
Similarly, customers of the Holders, both B2B and B2C are encouraged to provide their feedback on the Gold Standard so that all stakeholders are actively engaged in improving these products to everyone’s benefit.
Please email any feedback to email@example.com