The popular eSports game League of Legends has been recently embroiled in a scandal regarding gambling and match-fixing.
LGD Gaming’s Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie and manager Song “Hesitate” Zi-Yang have been found to be involved in League of Legends match-fixing and gambling. Condi was suspended for 18 months from competitive League of Legends gameplay. Zi-Yang has been given a lifetime ban.
An iunvestigation by the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) found the two individuals allegedly took part in gambling and match-fixing while competing. Condi told LPL officials that he was pressured to throw matches after he wagered on an LGD game during the 2019 season of the LPL.
The violation reportedly took place during the Chinese NEST 2019 tournament. This event provides seeds to the Demacia Cup. According to Condi, he told LGD’s management that an unnamed person tried to blackmail him to throw matches. The individual is believed to be his manager, Hesitate. LGD then worked with the LPL to investigate the matter.
The result was that Condi will be banned from competing professional in League of Legends until December 18th, 2020. Hesitate has been banned permanently.
Condi said: “I violated the (gambling) rule in one match I played in due to my impulses. At that time, I really hoped that we could win, and it was my first and the only time to do such a thing. However, I never tried to lose the game deliberately and was never involved in matchfixing. I played every game to the best of my abilities and all I was thinking about was to win.”
Following the investigation and incident, LGD will be working to strengthen the club by improving supervision and management systems.
The incident of gambling and match-fixing involving League of Legends comes at a time when eSports is expected to skyrocket in growth. According to VSO News, experts believe that online gambling on eSports will surpass the $13bn mark by 2020.
Sports stadiums play host to eSports events and viewership has grown over the past few years. Young people now spend more time than ever watching videogame streamers and content creators.
Esports had 335 million viewers in 2017 and that number is expected to increase to around 557 million by 2021. Currently, the two main formats for watching streamed video gaming footage are Twitch and YouTube. Each site continues to see growth as the industry becomes more popular.
Professional video gaming is quickly becoming mainstream in North America as well as southeast Asia. Top players earn millions in prize money by taking part in major tournaments and events, as well revenue from streaming and signing endorsement deals.
As the industry becomes more popular, those involved will have to keep an eye out for incidents of match-fixing and illegal gambling.