Korea’s Starcraft Scandal Worsens

Korea’s Starcraft Scandal Worsens

The scandal enveloping Korea’s professional Starcraft scene appears to be worse than first believed, with eleven gamers under investigation amid allegations that gambling organisations have been running “training institutes” to lure players into illegal match-fixing.

As we reported last month, an investigation has uncovered widespread corruption in the upper echelons of Korea’s pro gaming circuit, with many of the nation’s top gamers accused of throwing matches in exchange for cash.

Eleven “athletes” are currently under investigation for throwing eleven matches between 2006 and 2008, with illegal gambling cartels handing the players between USD$1,760-5,730 as “compensation” for losing a match most would have expected – and bet on them – to win.

In addition to the gamers, three online gambling companies are also under investigation, after it’s emerged that they had not only brokered the deals, but had been operating a “training institute for professional gamer hopefuls”, which doubled as a recruitment hub for fixing matches.

If you’re not familiar with how big a deal this is for Korean gaming – and Korea in general – take a look below at the kind of crowds a Starcraft match can attract.

StarCraft players indicted for game fixing [Korea Times][image credit]


  • I must be pretty into RTS’ too… that aerial screenshot makes me want to control the Korean people.

    Right click-Sport-Throw Match

  • “with illegal gambling cartels handing the players between USD$1,760-5,730 as “compensation””

    Those players were getting ripped off. For sure the cartels were making bucket loads more than that measly amount. Unless of course the “bonus compensation” was not having your fingers / hand / arm / legs broken.

  • A little background from someone who still plays SC:BW, follows pro and star leagues and got into the beta.

    A progamer’s career is finite. 24 years is considered ‘over the hill’ and then there’s Korea’s compulsory military service, which is often the end of a career as it lasts 2 years and prevents a player from practising or keeping up with new developments. Work for a progamer once he’s lost his touch is also bleak. The few lucky ones will be hired as coaches or commentators while most will just have the money they earned to keep them company.

    Additionally, many are teens who are just very, very good at the game and support their families. The player in the picture is from Hwaseung Oz, a notoriously cheap team that pays their Ace (Jaedong) 200k USD a year, little more than half other players of his calibre. Due to non-free agent rules in esports, a player is ‘locked’ in their team unless another is willing to go double. When Jaedong’s contract was about to be renewed, not a single team bid on him. With a team that worked him like a horse, and unwilling to find new talent to support him, what does he owe Oz? Hell, they traded the few promising ones to competitors once they showed talent. If the temptation exists for S-class players like Jaedong, I’m not surprised at all to find out that the bulk of the implicated players are ‘average’ progamers.

    I’m not condoning their actions. If anything, they’ve let their fans down. Fans who tuned into their games to see their heroes play, not knowing that the outcome was already decided, and covered with crocodile tears. But you can’t demonise their actions. If you were a progamer whose days were numbered and shady men offered you 5 grand to throw a game, wouldn’t you at least consider it?

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