The battle against match-fixing in esports

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Match-fixing is a problem that occurs across all areas of competitions, from soccer to StarCraft. There is no space safe from someone trying to make a quick buck by ensuring a desired result during a game.

And while high-profile cases of match-fixing date back as far as the early 20th century, esports is a newer battleground that is still evolving, and because of that, is more vulnerable than most other scenes.

Unfortunately, the infamous Solo, iBUYPOWER, and Life cases are just a few of the numerous incidents taking place in esports. According to the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), the watchdog organization in esports, it received 74 suspicious betting alerts that might indicate rigged games in 2018. That’s almost double the number of alerts the ESIC received in 2017, with most of those cases relating to Dota 2.

Some esports betting sites, like LOOT.BET, take match-fixing very seriously and are supporters of the ESIC’s betting alert network. When a bookmaker that is part of the network detects a suspicious betting activity related to a match, it notifies the organization. The ESIC will then poll other partner bookmakers to see if similar strange activity has happened on their servers, in order to collect as much information as possible. The gathered information can then be used in investigations if there is enough data to go off of.

LOOT.BET has provided the key guidelines that the company uses when analyzing suspicious betting activity should something look off about any numbers. These factors apply to nearly every bookmaker that works against match-fixing, in esports or not, and are crucial to how the ESIC investigates suspicious games.

An abnormally large total volume of bets placed on a match at a specific rank, especially on the outsider’s victory.

This one is a classic. Let’s say you’re the house in Las Vegas, and you typically take about $50,000 of bets, in total, on a regular boxing match. Then, one night, you start to get a series of massive bets in a row on a match of the same rank, all hedging on the outsider and making as much as $300,000 combined. Your ears would start to prick up, right?

The same principle applies in esports, and LOOT.BET say they get alerted when they see abnormal amounts of money get dropped on, let’s say, a local tier-four Dota 2 game, where most of the competitors, including the favorites, are unknown. Why would people risk so much money on an event with such a high degree of randomness, especially betting on the underdog?

An abnormally large total volume of bets placed on a market that is generally unpopular among bettors.

The most common bet among bettors will come on the outcome of a match, whether that be on a single map or an entire series. And, if a bookmaker accepts a large amount of money on a team’s victory in one specific round or for something…

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