The seedy underbelly of Overwatch esports betting in Korea has met the harsh, firm hand of the law, with a betting syndicate caught and subsequently punished in the world’s competitive gaming capital.
A group of thirteen Overwatch hackers and match-fixers were arrested back in January by the South Korean government, with one of the syndicate slapped with a two-year probation and 10 million won fine. That’s close to $10,000 USD.
This comes by way of the official Blizzard Korea forums, and paves the way for future sanctions against the growing underbelly of esports betting and match-fixing. There is currently eleven more cases under investigation by the South Korean prosecutor’s office.
South Korea has a dedicated taskforce investigating a growing scene of hackers in the country. The Seoul National Police Agency Cyber Security Department (quite the mouthful) is working directly with Blizzard to catch those actively involved in match-fixing.
Back in June 2017, the country brought in law amendment called the “Game Industry Promotion Law” and “Information and Communication Technology Protection Law”. These both come to impose harsh(er) penalties to those involved in illegal boosting or hacking, with a maximum jail sentence of two years on the cards for those prosecuted, as well as an $18,000 USD fine.
Cheating and hacking has been a common issue for Overwatch and Blizzard ever since the game’s release back in 2016. This issue grew with the launch of Competitive Play shortly after launch, and then again with the rise in the game’s esports prominence and Overwatch League.