X-bet, UltraPlay in ProDotaCup fixing claims

21 December 2017

X-bet and UltraPlay have stopped offering markets on the ProDotaCup esports event over claims of persistent match-fixing and betting irregularities.

Betting operator X-bet, which also sponsored the competition, took a stand after providing organisers with evidence of fixing and collusion in a game between Sqreen’s Squad vs Nemiga Gaming during the Upper-Bracket Preliminary of ProDotaCup Europe #25.

X-bet said it has uncovered at least three instances of fixing and irregularities in the six months since it began its sponsorship of ProDotaCup.

Russ Stevens, of X-bet.co, said: “Match fixing causes a financial loss to the operator but what is worse is that it jeopardises the relationship between the teams and the esports fans which affects the esports community as a whole.

“We have been surprised to see that there are bettors with a 100%-win rate on chosen ProDotaCup matches during the last three months. That made us think more about the existence of a tight-knit syndicate around the PDCup tournament, with usage of insider information in order to wager on the match outcomes.”

X-bet reported the case to its betting provider UltraPlay, and both organisations have decided to remove ProDotaCup markets so that players and other operators can avoid it.

Peter Ivanov, head of esports trading department, said: “We have evaluated the cases related to ProDotaCup and have decided to stop offering odds on this tournament to our network. We believe that any existence of match-fixing and betting collusion is damaging both financially and reputationally the organisations involved, but moreover they badly affect the overall esports betting ecosystem.

“We are covering a wide range of games and their respective tournaments and when such cases pop up we have to move quick, together with all related parties, in order to eradicate these practices and send a strong message to teams and players that we will not tolerate such appalling behaviour.”

Ian Smith, esports Integrity Commissioner at ESIC has been also informed on the case and commented: “ESIC was alerted to suspicious betting in these matches by UltraPlay, with whom we have recently started working and then received further alerts from a number of operators within our network.

“I examined the evidence provided and concluded that the Sqreen’s Squad v Nemiga game was fixed. We have been unable to contact the tournament organiser, who is not an ESIC members, but we would urge him to contact us to discuss how these integrity threats can be addressed, before his business loses all credibility through what is clearly occurring in his tournaments. There can be zero tolerance of match-fixing in esports.”

ProDotaCup has been contacted for its comments on the accusations, but is yet to respond.

In October, esports integrity made the headlines when Leonid ‘Sonic’ Kuzmenkov and Dmitri ‘Ax.Mo’ Morozov were found guilty of match-fixing and banned from Uprise Champions Cup (UCC) tournaments for two years.

Related article: Keeping esports clean