The Video James Corner: Believe it or not, esports has rules

Whenever I talk competitive esports with someone unfamiliar with the concept, one of the common responses is “you’re only using a keyboard, surely it can’t be that serious”. Well, if these previous columns haven’t convinced you that competitive gaming is a legitimate industry, you’ll be surprised to learn of the hard punishments handed to both players and organisations that break the rules of the sport.


For an industry revolving around playing video games, rules need to be in place to maintain the legitimacy of the competition. Like any other sport, standard rules are put in place to protect the players competing, hold organisations to accountability and make sure the integrity of the games is held to a high standard. Different rules apply to different games, and these rules are abided by for the most part, but recent events had led to severe punishments within the industry and are a clear example to take the sport seriously.


In late August this year, six Australian players were fined for match-fixing in the popular esport Counter-Strike: Global Offence ­or CS:GO for short. Sportsbet and the Victorian Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit were both involved in investigating players accused of planning to purposefully lose matches they had bet on while competing in the ESEA Mountain Dew League. A total of $30,000 had been won gambling on these matches, being a cause for suspicion given the low amount of esports related bets. If found guilty, these offenses would earn a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.


The Esports Integrity Commission told The Esports Observer that on top of the punishment given through local laws, the consequences of match-fixing are “loss of major sponsorship deals, loss of audience, [and] loss of credibility” much like traditional sports.




It shouldn’t be that surprising to hear about players trying to skew matches for money as it is unfortunately a part of most competitions. However, it is important to consider how impactful cheating is in the esports scene.  Competitive gaming is a growing business that can’t afford to be swamped by controversy- sponsorships and a spot on the market are on the line for each esport game as well as the overall industry. As we saw earlier this month, Blizzard’s ruling on Heartstone player Ng ‘Bliztchung’ Wai Chung showed the strict response given to those who break the rules, so its no wonder that cheating of this scale would result in such a severe penalty. Rules are posts on a game’s official website as well as on websites of tournaments that include that game in their schedule.


It’s no secret that it is now easier than ever to cheat in a game, modifications are available to most competitive games and it is harder to supervise and enforce rules consistently, but the rise is deceitful play is not recent. Billy Mitchell was the world record holder for both Donkey Kong and Pac-man whose scores were removed in 2018 after it was found that Mitchell’s footage was obtained illegally. Mitchell boasted a 1,062,800-point score in 2010, which was obtained on an emulator and not an official arcade machine. Twin Galaxies, the official platform responsible for the Donkey Kong score, decided to remove all of Billy Mitchell’s’ scores and prevent him from competing in any other competitive leaderboards on the site.


The ruling system in esports is one of the easiest features of the profession to understand. These rules apply to most if not all other sports and only hardcore players and professionals need to worry about the more intricate nooks of the game, so to hear about these reports so frequently disappoints me beyond belief. bumped into my fair share of cheaters when playing online, and it’s disheartening to know that it is incredibly easy it is to cheat and only those monitored in a professional league are held accountable for their actions. If there’s one thing to learn from this, its that winners never cheat and cheaters (almost) never prosper.


You can find last week’s article here.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE



  1. It’s really set-up for match fixing/cheating, isn’t it James? A large number of players with many lowly paid aspirational professionals where subtle mistakes can be the difference between winning and losing. Not to mention the availability of mods.

    My only real contact with competitive gaming is watching my son play Rocket League. Very much a casual gamer (he bounces between Silver III and Silver II in 2v2) it amazes me how quickly most games descend into a sewer of abuse and recrimination. One mistake and you’re likely to have your opposition and teammate ragging on you. It’s not surprising then that even at the elite level you have what happened with Demon. At least the organisers appear to have clear rules and a willingness to enforce them.

Leave a Comment