Korean StarCraft Champions Caught Red-Handed at Center of Cheating Scandal

Nathan Grayson

We’re not above cracking a joke or two about Korea’s near-fanatical obsession with Blizzard’s RTS opus StarCraft, but over there, the game’s no laughing matter. It is, for all intents and purposes, a sport. And where there’s sport, there’s money to be made. And where there’s money and sports, you can bet that there’s illegal betting. Turns out, though, that even Korea’s biggest StarCraft pros are in on it. That’s right: the whole thing’s rigged .

Among other things, various pros have been purposefully losing matches and leaking their teams’ replay files to illegal gambling groups. Think that’s bad? The rabbit hole runs deeper.

“Apparently, retired pro gamers, a former pro gamer coach, a former match announcer and a pro gaming scene reporter brought out their address books and contact lists to play a large part in the deals being made. Coaching staff and camp directors are also implicated, allegedly taking money for charging player entry fees,” gaming site GamePron explained.

Worse still, even E-Sports organizers have been tempted by the unscrupulous, though assuredly lucrative pie on the windowsill – going so far as to call a conference that considered coexistence with illegal betting sites.

Despite Korea’s human rights law – which forbids the release of criminals’ names – a list of suspected cheaters has found its way onto the Internet. Among others, the list includes “sAviOr” and “EffOrt” – both of whom were BlizzCon StarCraft champions in the past.

It’s a shame, too. Blizzard’s patched StarCraft again and again over the years, always aiming to perfect its incredibly tricky three-way balancing act. You can’t patch out illegal betting rings, though. Shame, that.

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