Top pro gamers arrested in gambling, match fixing scandal

Nine people have been arrested for their alleged connection to match-fixing StarCraft 2 matches in South Korea. The Korean eSports Association (KeSPA) announced (opens in new tab) yesterday that, after investigating matches involving professional gamers Choi Byeong-Heon (“YoDa”) and Choi Jong-Hyuk (“BBoongBBoong”), there was sufficient evidence to charge the players, as well as team PRIME head coach Park Wae-Sik (“Gerrard”). Several other individuals who acted as brokers for various gambling rings and organized crime groups were also implicated (opens in new tab).

eSports are a much bigger phenomenon in South Korea, and the country takes infractions seriously. According to KeSPA, all players and coaches are banned for life from future South Korean eSports, regardless of what sentences they receive from the justice system.

Today’s news is a lesson in “you can’t have the good without the bad.” eSports have evolved from basement LAN parties to international spectacles with multi-million dollar prize pools – from informalities to legitimacy. But, just as the world of professional sports is rife with stories of corruption and cheating, so too can the world of eSports be a dark and tainted place.

Here’s hoping this can be a warning to those conducting such illicit activities, so that professional gaming doesn’t suffer more setbacks as it finds its place in popular culture around the globe.

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