Gambling sites have long been associated with the world of esports, but earlier this week Dota 2 teams were told to stop accepting sponsorship from the firms.
Ahead of The International, Valve held a meeting with the tournament’s teams last week to try to shape the scene’s ever-growing future, and it seems preventing sponsorship deals and partnerships promoting gambling is on the top of its list.
The move would have far-reaching implications on the scene though. So far this month, OpTic Gaming, VKGame and Virtus.pro all signed partnerships with betting firms, and the news, which was reported originally by VPEsports, has left a great deal of uncertainty in the professional scene.
The longevity of pre-existing deals has already been raised by one team manager, but Valve responded by saying it would hold more detailed discussions at a later date. They aren’t the first developer to tackle gambling in esports though. Blizzard and Riot have taken action against teams in the past, arguing that such deals cause conflict of interest among and could lead to match-fixing.
The meeting also revealed some other interesting titbits for the Dota 2 scene. The number of teams winning direct invites to The International will increase from 8 to 12 next year, with only one team able to reach the tournament through open qualifiers. The points allocation at each Minor and Major will also be changed, so that either the top six or top eight teams will be awarded points.
While the latter might be welcomed, the saga behind curbing sponsorship deals might well rage on for a little while longer.