Korean authorities are keeping tabs on StarCraft 2 match-fixing and illegal gambling. A coach, a professional gamer and nine other individuals have been arrested.
Issues with illegal betting and fixing matches are marring virtually every sport, and it appears that eSports are no exception. The Korean eSports scene has grown viral after 11 people were arrested in Korea due to cases of match-fixing and illegal gambling in StarCraft 2
Citing a report from Kookje Newspaper, TeamLiquid reveals that the office of the Changwon Regional Prosecutor arrested head coach Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik) of pro team Prime, as well as pro gamers YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon) and BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-Hyuk) in connection to illicit betting and match-fixing in StarCraft 2.
In addition to members of the pro team, authorities also arrested financial supporters and brokers, including eSports journalist and ex-programmer Enough (Seong Jun-mo) who was also a broker. TeamLiquid further points out that two financial supporters were former gangsters who poured money into the operation and conducted negotiations through illegal websites.
The Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) worked with Korean authorities to investigate the matter, and released a formal statement announcing the arrests. The investigation discovered that such illegal practices affected at least five professional StarCraft 2 matches earlier this year.
TeamLiquid learned from Korean publication Naver that the head coach of team Prime and several unnamed gamers reportedly made a substantial amount of money from the operation, earning between $4,000 and $17,000 per match. Meanwhile, gamblers and brokers received roughly 30,000,000 won ($26,000) and 40,000,000 won ($35,000), respectively,
Head coach Park and pro gamer YoDa have already been banned from the game. KeSPA notes that all parties found guilty in this matter will receive the same punishment. Moreover, KeSPA will also pursue legal action against the guilty parties for staining the reputation of eSports.
The case is still under investigation and more information will surface as authorities make progress with their probe. All parties involved in this illegal gambling and match-fixing scandal will also see their pro-gaming licenses revoked and will no longer be able to participate in any eSports-related enterprise in Korea. The bans will be enforced regardless of the results of the trial.