16 March 2018

Sportradar launches eSports betting manipulation investigation

Sportradar says it is conducting an internal investigation into an allegation its head of eSports manipulated betting markets while ‘aggressively betting’ in those same markets. The allegation was raised on Twitter yesterday by Rahul Sood, the CEO of major eSports betting platform Unikrn. Sood tweeted that Sportradar’s head of eSports had ‘was busted for using multiple accounts manipulating others while betting aggressively on our site, & he often publicly bashes us’.

It is alleged the action took place on Unikorn’s Discord chat app, and involved sock-puppeting: using fake aliases to create a conversation in a public forum ‘in order to manipulate others’. Sood continued that ‘if someone worked for us and did s— like this he or she would be looking for a job in another industry. I mean come on. Spotting cheaters is easy, this is on a whole other level of bulls— though.’

The Sports Integrity Initiative has seen no evidence to support Sood’s claims. However, the official and certified Sportradar account replied to his allegation: ‘Following your recent allegations regarding one of our team we will now be undertaking an internal inquiry to understand what took place and what the appropriate next steps are. Obviously we can’t make any further comment while this inquiry is active.’

Sportradar’s head of eSports, James Watson, also responded, telling Sood he was ‘truly sorry if my tweets and Discord messages caused offence’. He said he would ‘keep my opinions to myself from herein’. He added that Sood’s tweets are ‘really not an amicable way to behave publicly – and certainly calling for someone to be fired is taking things way too far’.

Sportradar is a leading provider of data to the international betting market, and also an authority in the sports integrity field. Breaches revealed by its match-fixing detection system have led to a number of convictions and suspensions around the world, especially in football.

The Swiss-based company is currently working to establish itself in the US, where there is a potential overhaul of sports betting laws on the cards. Online gambling expert Dustin Gouker says that this allegation is ‘literally the last thing Sportradar needs’ given its moves to establish itself in the US ahead of these changes, and ‘calls into question its position’ in this future market.

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