Eight People Arrested in Korea for Fixing StarCraft II Matches

Eight People Arrested in Korea for Fixing StarCraft II Matches

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An investigation into a StarCraft II match-fixing scandal has led to eleven indictments and eight arrests.

Lest you think that professional gaming isn't serious business, eight people have been arrested in Korea after an investigation into the StarCraft II pro tournament scene. In total, eleven people were indicted, but two were not arrested by police, and one remains at large.

Two gamers have been arrested, will one having allegedly received 70,000,000 won (about $62,000), and the other 30,000,000 won (about $26,000) in return for fixing match outcomes.

Also arrested were brokers, financial backers, and one person who was responsible for placing bets.

A translation of the official report appears on the Team Liquid forums, and offers more information. Of particular interest is the note that this investigation is in addition to the October 2015 case that resulted in nine indictments. The report states in part,

"This second investigation confirms esports match-fixing is occurring on a broad large scale, highlighting the need for not only continued policing, but extreme measures from the Korea eSports Association."

We'll have to see what sort of judgments are handed down against these people, but it sounds like the Korean government isn't inclined to be lenient. The Team Liquid post also attempts to link player handles to the descriptions, but as those are not part of the official report, they cannot be confirmed.

Source: Gamasutra

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At first I thought this was something entirely new, I don't keep up on the scene as well as I used to, but its the Life thing. He was originally arrested back in January over matchfixing charges so its not entirely surprising to see this turn up but...damn...Life. One of the true greats.

Bbyong is a surprise though. Apparently he turned himself in; guess he's hoping for a lesser sentence.

For context on punishment: the last group of matchfixers (YoDa, BBoongBBoong and Gerrard plus some brokers) got fines and suspended prison sentences. Plus, of course, banned from ever being involved in a KeSPA event again.

Legal consequences for fixing videogame tournament matches? Well, maybe the general public will start to see videogames in a more serious way...

...pfff. Who am I kidding? They'll probably take rigging Wheel of Fortune to win a trip to Florida as a far more serious crime.

CaitSeith:
Legal consequences for fixing videogame tournament matches? Well, maybe the general public will start to see videogames in a more serious way...

...pfff. Who am I kidding? They'll probably take rigging Wheel of Fortune to win a trip to Florida as a far more serious crime.

Its not just the matchfixing itself, that's the thing. Gambling is itself broadly illegal in Korea which is why these things keep coming up.

I don't think the matchfixing itself is, per se, illegal. Although KeSPA (as a non-governmental organisation) takes a fairly dim view of it. To the point that they're planning to sue the hell out of the previous batch of matchfixers for damages.

CaitSeith:
Legal consequences for fixing videogame tournament matches? Well, maybe the general public will start to see videogames in a more serious way...

...pfff. Who am I kidding? They'll probably take rigging Wheel of Fortune to win a trip to Florida as a far more serious crime.

ESports is to Korea as Basketball is to the States. It's serious business. You don't mess with something a nation loves.

If it's enough to fill stadiums, then it's enough to be punished over. And yup, the Gambling aspect doesn't help a damn thing.

This is like a crime worse than murder over there. Fuck some guy getting brutally stabbed to death, some pieces of shit fixed StarCraft II matches.

As a korean, I would like to see their careers crushed to dust, names scrubbed off from the all SC2 matches and forbid their name to be spoken ever again - if they are found to be guilty.

Shame, since I liked one of their gameplay.

If I'm not mistaken, e-sports are really big business in Korea. This is kind of on the level of the Pete Rose scandal in the 80s or 90s where he was throwing games to fix bets in baseball. In light of that, the source piece is treating it a little flippantly.

Yeah, this is neither shocking nor surprising. While I'm sure some might mockingly sneer at the idea of someone being prosecuted for fixing videogame matches, the same thing would happen if you fixed any other sport (and yes, despite the fact that I couldn't possibly care less about e-sports, I do still consider them sports, or at very least competitions is you want to quibble over definitions). It's a big business with lots of money being thrown around, so the fact that it's videogames rather than a bunch of men throwing a ball around doesn't change its status as big business.

Does every competition need to be fixed or something? I know money is important but fuck me the pursuit for more money and more fame and more power is a dark one.

Parasondox:
Does every competition need to be fixed or something? I know money is important but fuck me the pursuit for more money and more fame and more power is a dark one.

The 'problem', in so far as it can be justified in any way, is that...well the best way to put it is as a comparison.

The matches Life fixed in were two KeSPA cup matches last year. For each of those he apparently got 35 million korean won. So 70 million for fixing in two matches.

The ENTIRE PRIZE POOL for the KeSPA cup was 25 million won. The winner of the whole thing got 10 million won.

Gambling is pretty big business, so the matchfixing brokers can afford to do this. Resulting in Life getting seven times as much money for merely fixing two maps than the winner of the competition got for winning the trophy. Note what I said there too: maps. Not entire matches. He didn't even have to throw the entire match, he just had to not win on a specific map to get paid by the brokers.

In fact Life came in third in the tournament, picking up 2 million won.

Similarly Bbyong apparently fixed in a match in Code A of GSL Season 1 2016. He got 30 million won for it. The winner for Code S (which first requires getting through Code A matches, then getting through two group stages, then the knockout stage and winning the finals, Bbyong got knocked out in the first group stage) gets 40 million won. So he got 75% of the amount of money the winner will get for throwing that one map. He himself got 3 million won for his position, so he got 10 times the amount of money for throwing a map in Code A than he did for qualifying for Code S.

Given the amounts of money involved and the difficulty of trying to win the higher amounts its not exactly surprising that matchfixing brokers find the players to be easy prey. Life was a fairly big surprise to a lot of people because he's a hugely successful player (its generally viewed as more likely that less 'superstar' players are more vulnerable because they're inherently less likely to win tournaments and therefore its more tempting to tkae the money).

But even despite that his lifetime winnings amount to $475,300.67 (source: http://www.esportsearnings.com/games/151-starcraft-ii ). So 70 million won is roughly 13% of his lifetime earnings as a progamer. Also there's been rumours he himself has something of a gambling problem.

Heh I'm not surprised that something like this happened. I'm reminded of someones video on the subject from ages ago that brought up that this sort of thing would likely start happening and just get worse with time until a new status quo is found. Should be interesting to see how this all turns out.

 

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