Valorant e-sports gamer jailed for deliberately losing match to win bets

SINGAPORE: In order to win bets on an online gambling site, the captain of an e-sports team deliberately lost a match.

Malcolm Chung Wai Kiat, 25, was sentenced to four months’ jail on Friday (May 26) and ordered to pay a penalty of S$400.

The Singaporean pleaded guilty to one count of corruptly receiving gratification under the Prevention of Corruption Act, with a second charge taken into consideration.

The court heard that Chung was an active online gamer and represented RSG Resurgence ESports in e-sports tournaments, a type of competitive video gaming.

In September 2020, Chung represented Team Resurgence in the EPULZE Royal Southeast Asia Cup Tournament, which was part of the Valorant Ignition Series.

Valorant is an online team-based first-person shooter games, and there are around 5.5 million active Valorant players, along with multiple Valorant e-sports tournaments.

This particular tournament was among the more prestigious regional Valorant e-sports competitions. Teams stood to win US$25,000 in the 2020 tournament.

Chung was captain of his team, which played matches against three other teams on Sep 22, 2020.

His team lost the first two matches against teams from Singapore and South Korea, and the last match was against a team from Japan.

Before the last match, Chung’s online gamer friend Ryan Tan Shern, 21, suggested to Chung that they bet on Chung’s team losing.

He also suggested that Chung intentionally throw the match so that they could win the bet. Tan suggested the scheme because he owed Chung S$400 but could not repay him.

Chung accepted the suggestion as he thought it was the only way to get the S$400 back.

Tan got his older brother to transfer S$3,000 to Chung for the placing of the bets. Chung logged into an illegal gambling website and placed five bets totalling S$3,000.

Chung’s team lost the match by a score of 0:2. Chung had deliberately underperformed and instructed his teammates to follow suit.

He won a total of S$7,019, retaining S$2,719 for himself. The remainder went to Tan’s brother, Tan’s friend and other people, including Chung’s teammates.

The incident led to significant public disquiet in the e-sports arena, said Deputy Public Prosecutor David Menon.

RSG Resurgence suffered negative publicity that damaged its credibility as an e-sports organisation, and Valorant developer Riot Games began investigating Chung and his team.

Mr Menon asked for three to five months’ jail for Chung, noting that he had voluntarily surrendered a sum of about S$2,300.

While there were no reported precedent cases pertaining to e-sports match-fixing, the prosecutor cited cases for football match-fixing offences.

He said Chung had denied other competitors the glory of true sporting achievement and he had instigated his teammates to fix the match.

Chung’s lawyer asked for the lowest end of the range the prosecution was asking for.

The judge said Chung had not only underperformed himself, but abused his position as captain of his team.

He was also motivated by greed and personal interest, said the judge.

Tan, who is younger at 21, had been sentenced to reformative training for his role earlier this week.