Today at Lord's cricket ground in London, Ian Smith was announced as the first Integrity Commissioner for the new ESports Integrity Coalition.
Smith has previously been the Legal Director of the Professional Cricketer's Association and has previous experience with cases like match fixing and doping in cricket. He has an extensive background in sport and expertise in regulation as well.
"Everybody has the same problem here," Smith said at the press conference, referencing not only match fixing and doping in esports, but also problems like ISP attacks on players and software hacks. Match fixing was the topic that Smith wanted to specifically focus on in the press conference, however, as he said "the industry is simply not equipped to deal with this particular issue" and that this is where ESIC comes in.
He said that the growth of the esports betting market had created a scenario where the black market is worth two to three billion dollars and this could grow to upwards of $200 billion by 2020 if not checked. This is why ESIC is targeting esports now so as to anticipate "a problem that is undoubtedly coming," aiming to regulate esports as a whole and make it fairer for the players.
He also revealed the six pillars ESIC is based upon: integrity and respect; fair processes; implementation of standardised codes; recognition of sanctions; sharing of information and confidentiality of investigations. ESIC aims to be fair in what it does and is "funded by the members for the members", hence why it is a not-for-profit organisation. "Every time you mix commerce and integrity, integrity loses," he said.
Going forward, then, the ESIC hopes to continue to communicate with players and expand as an organisation so as to make esports fairer as a whole. Smith said that this will involve adapting to changing situations within esports and learning from processes as time goes on, as well as educating players and making sure they are aware of ESIC and what it aims to do.
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