Gambling Has Ruined Korean StarCraft

starcraft-esports-lifeThe Korean prosecutor’s office leading the StarCraft 2 match-fixing investigation released its report this week, and the results are not good for fans of the sport. One of the game’s greatest players, Lee “Life” Seung Hyun, now stands convicted of match-fixing, as well as another leading player, Bung “Bbyong” Woo Yong.

That’s only half the bad news. The other half is that for those thrown-matches, Life was offered about $60,000. In other words, as TeamLiquid editor Kwanghee Woo pointed out, Life made seven times as much money throwing two games than he would have for winning the entire tournament. This is the kind of gambling money flooding into esports in Korea. With that kind of disparity between what players can make honestly versus what they can make cheating, it seems like guaranteeing StarCraft’s competitive integrity is an uphill battle.

It’s a bleak outcome for StarCraft fans. Life wasn’t just a great player, but a central figure in several of the most exciting moments in the sport’s recent history. A precocious talent who took down some of the best players in the world as a young teen, Life seemed like the kind of person who would never be caught match-fixing. Too much to lose, too much money, too much potential for future success. Confirmation that Life did, indeed, take bribes to throw matches pretty much shatters whatever illusions StarCraft fans may have had about the security or sanctity of the game in Korea.

Team Liquid has a complete run-down and translation of the summary report, with helpful glosses about who is who in this story, since the report itself makes an attempt to conceal the identities of those involved.

In total, eight people have been arrested and charged, including some of the financial backers behind the scheme and their employees, as well as the brokers who helped arrange the deals. Life apparently received a suspended prison sentence, so he doesn’t have to go to jail if he avoids further legal trouble.

Full story @ Kotaku

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