Valve to Dota 2 Teams: No More Gambling Sponsors
The video game publisher Valve wants to separate itself and its esports title Dota 2 from any association with the gambling industry. This week, ahead of the title's largest esports tournament of the year, Valve instructed teams participating in the event to stop accepting sponsorships from betting firms.
Valve's action may have come a couple weeks too late. Earlier this month, at least three teams that are participating in The International signed with betting partners. OpTic Gaming, VKGaming, and Virtus.pro were the only teams named as having picked up such sponsors, but not all deals have been reported.
There is also the issue of pre-existing deals. According to a team manager who spoke out about the situation, it would be unfair for Valve to take action against these teams now when other teams have had sponsors from the gaming industry dating before The International 2017.
Valve told the teams it plans to host more detailed discussions on the issue before the tournament events begin. The primary issue, according to the publisher, is the influence these sponsorships could have on players and teams and the questions they raise about match-fixing. Other leading game developers including Blizzard and Riot Games have made the same argument.
Valve also used the meeting to inform teams of planned changes for the upcoming competitive season. The publisher plans to raise the number of teams that receive direct invites to The International from eight to 12, leaving just one spot available for a team to enter the tournament through open qualifiers.