Special: Are e-Sports Safe for Operators?Published April 7, 2016 by Lee R
Vigilant operator software can provide second level protection against match-fixing. Interviews ahead of May's eSports Betting Summit in London provide insights about the fast growing section of eSports.
Many punters have never heard of e-Sports, while the other millions of global players, fans and bettors regularly place bets at a pace that already exceeds golf, tennis and rugby and continues to grow.
The Integrity of the System
An interview conducted by the eSports Betting Summit with CEO Rahul Sood of the Seattle-based start-up and pre-eminent exclusive e-Sports betting provider Unikrn sheds light and insight on the subject. Since Rahul's company has signed an exclusive global partnership with one of the largest wagering companies in the world, his expertise is certainly legitimate.
The Actuality of the Threat
As far as the actual threat, Sood believes that the issue of cheating and integrity in e-Sports is no less or worse than traditional sports. Further, the digital component of the games renders unscrupulous activity much easier to spot online.
The Safety of Structure
The e-Sports wager system of structured betting allows professional leagues and operators to spot cheating such as match-fixing ahead of time. The digital base of the format actually makes it much simpler for leagues such as Unikrn to work with e-Sports tournament providers to ensure player integrity.
Safeguards of e-Sports Technology
Specific techniques for safeguarding against identity theft or digital fraud embedded within e-Sports technology continuously ensure that all LAN environments are safe and free of any external threats. Proper firewalls are already in place to prevent DDOS attacks and electronically monitoring for suspicious betting activity.
The key advantage of the digital format in protecting against cheating is that all equipment and software is set up in advance of all tournaments, from small satellite events to global championships.
Frequency of Cheating?
Sood characterizes the discovery of people trying to script or cheat the system in online tournaments as rare in general, meaning that players tend to remain faithful to the spirit of honest and fair competition.
Preventative Betting Technology
Unikrn nonetheless has preventatively developed technology to detect such scripts, which Sood tips will soon be visible in new products his company is launching in the spectator- and skill-based betting markets.
As far as actual anti-cheating controls, some games such as League of Legends have closed environments, specifically with a protected ecosystem and servers and continual patch updates.
Sood further explains that tournaments take place in LAN, an environment in which is exceedingly difficult to cheat because competitors are not even playing on their own PC's. The tournament PC’s are set up ahead of time and their systems are ghosted, making it exceedingly difficult to fix matches.
Known Problem Areas
Sood points out the only vulnerabilities, such as in Starcraft, a game which originally had system integrity issues where players have been known to throw games.
Betting Provider Controls
Betting services can catch irregular activity or outcomes indicating foul play through closely monitoring betting activity and usage data, meaning that there is active recourse for betting companies to protect against match-fixing in order to preserve the integrity of their own betting systems and results.
In other words, online betting providers do not have to worry about match-fixing because they have the technological capability of detecting and preventing match-fixing, a departure from offline betting where it is much harder to track betting activity and virtually impossible to generate rapid organised data.
The point is, e-Sports betting is safer than betting on land-based competition because it is inherently built to yield tracking and behavioral information. In effect, if someone was clever enough to program a fixed match, the resulting irregularities in betting activity detected by the vigilant sports betting provider's software and in-house monitoring would pick up whatever irregularities in play or outcome the original competition system failed to detect or prevent.
Inherent in the Technical
Does this sound technical? Well, that's because it is: technology supporting respective e-Sports competition remains vulnerable to inaccurate or malicious scripts that could disproportionately, unethically, or illegally influence outcomes. By the same token, the same technology that enhances e-Sports betting can also embed increasingly effective software to detect events experiencing irregular patterns of betting activity.
Technical Q Answered
So, is it safe to bet and place odds on e-Sports? Absolutely. Far more safer than land-based sports. The answer is technical, but it does not take an expert to figure out why.
The eSports Betting Summit
Take part in the eSports Betting Summit in London this May to get an accurate picture of this exciting aspect of the gaming industry, and to be prepared what's to come in the future.