- The Overwatch League and Call of Duty League will have their betting activity monitored by Sportradar to help protect the leagues from betting corruption.
- Sportradar oversees the integrity of betting in the NFL, NBA, FIFA, MLB, and FIFA.
- Blizzard Entertainment will still continue its scheduled esports tournaments as planned with the new partnership.
NEW YORK — Activision Blizzard Entertainment and Sportradar have struck a partnership that will make betting on esports safer. The agreement will form an integrity program to keep the Overwatch (OWL) and Call of Duty Leagues from succumbing to betting corruption.
In a time where no major sports are available to be bet on because of the coronavirus pandemic, esports betting has seen a major boom in interest and viewership.
“It’s not surprising there is increased attention around our live competitions in the absence of traditional sports,” said Pete Vlastelica, the CEO and Commissioner of the Overwatch League. “Our collaboration with Sportradar is a specific engagement to increase integrity efforts we already have in place.”
According to a press release from Sportradar, the sports data company will monitor the global betting activity of both leagues and will report potential issues regarding the integrity of the leagues’ games.
“Call of Duty League and Overwatch League have long taken steps to safeguard the integrity of matches, and working with Sportradar is a step to further reinforce the importance of fair play,” said Jason Hahn, Head of Strategic Initiatives at Activision Blizzard Esports. “As our esports activities continue to grow and as fans increasingly engage with wagering on matches, we need to ensure we are doing as much as we can to proactively protect our ecosystem. Working with Sportradar, an industry leader, is important in protecting our players, teams and matches and giving fans the best experience they deserve. We look forward to establishing this relationship with Sportradar and continued expansion of our work together.”
The types of betting corruption Sportradar tries to prevent is match-fixing and inside information misuse. The company monitors odds from well over 600 sports betting operators worldwide. If any betting abnormalities or suspicious activity is suspected, Sportradar helps with the investigation.
“Integrity is a crucial component to the overall success of esports, especially in a time with more betting opportunities available and more tournaments taking place,” said Andy Cunningham, Head of Integrity Services and League Relations, North America at Sportradar. “We look forward to working with The Overwatch League and Call of Duty League to fortify their already powerful integrity measures.”
Now that the Call of Duty and Overwatch League have safeguards in place to protect the integrity of their leagues this should open up the door for more esports betting on the leagues and also on esports in general globally.
Lawmakers that have considered introducing legal sports betting have hesitated on putting esports betting into legislation our of fears of corruption.
But with Sportradar, many more esports leagues should be looking to form similar partnerships with the company in order to make more bettors feel comfortable placing a wager on esports. This could also make state legislators more comfortable putting it into their bills as well.