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At least nine people arrested in StarCraft II match fixing scandal

Arrests include PRIME's head coach Gerrard, players YoDa and BBoongBBoong. All three have received lifetime bans from KeSPA

Authorities in South Korea have uncovered a match-fixing and gambling operation that involved major figures in the StarCraft II eSports world, leading the Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA) to issue several lifetime bans. 

Prosecutors in Changwon have identified at least twelve people involved, with nine of those already arrested, including various people associated with the StarCraft II team PRIME: its head coach Gerrard (Park Wae-Sik) and pro-gamers YoDa (Choi Byeong-Heon) and BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-Hyuk).

The operation involved at least five particular GSL and Proleague matches played between January andJune 2015. Prosecutors charge that Gerrard connected the two players with various brokers, who transferred money to YoDa and BBoongBBoong in exchange for losing their matches. Payments ranged from $4,450 to approximately $26,000 USD for fixed matches. The report mentions that an eSports journalist named Enough (Seong Jun-mo) and financial backers with links to Korean organized crime have also been arrested.

Reports say players won between $4,450 and $26,000 for fixed matches.

KeSPA has banned Gerrard, YoDa, and BBoongBBoong for life, and has stated that any other players found to have done the same will also receive lifetime bans.

The eSports association uncovered a similar scandal back in 2010, when it found that 11 StarCraft II pro-gamers had taken similar kickbacks for fixing the results of their matches. Those players received fines totaling between $2,000 and $10,000, mandated community service, and between one and three years probation.

Team Liquid has a detailed breakdown of the prosecutor's report on its website.

Published Oct. 19th 2015
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    So is $25k worth a lot more there than here? I mean, it's a decent chunk of change, but I can't imagine a world where it's worth risking your entire career. I see it's roughly 1000 USD = 1,000,000 KRW. I was expecting millions (billions KRW).
  • Michael Falero
    Featured Contributor
    Based on the fact that the top esports pros' total earnings are only in the hundreds of thousands over multiple years of play (hwww.esportsearnings.com is a somewhat informative if not unstable site for getting a general idea), my guess is that that kind of amount is quite a lot for a single game. It's a risk-reward thing - how much does losing a single match matter, compared to something like $20k? Players are likely to downplay how likely it is they'd be caught purposely losing. But having the police track down the financial transactions is a different story, and perhaps something they didn't consider. Particularly if their head coach was pushing them to do it, there might be a problem of "going along with the team's decision" as well.

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