Dota 2 teams competing in The International 2018 tournament have recently met with Valve, where they were instructed to steer clear of any sponsorships by gambling websites, whereas the existing contracts will be discussed at a later date.
It has been reported that several professional Dota 2 teams already have contracts with such websites, which isn't particularly convenient considering how these contracts are usually structured. At the moment however, they seem to know as much as we do because Valve said they'll address it at a later date.
To anyone unfamiliar with the world of betting, Valve's move may seem counterintuitive, radical even. I mean, it's just like any other sponsorship, so why say no to free money? Well, nothing is ever free, perhaps doubly so when it comes to the world of betting.
Sports betting in particular tends to attract huge amounts of money, which ups the risks and whether we liked it or not inadvertently leads to shady practices. You can find examples of match fixing in just about any sport you think of, a practice that is probably as old as betting itself.
Financial analysts are estimating that at the current pace, the global esports industry will be worth as much as $1.6 billion by 2020 and although it may seem like much now, it's likely that we'll be laughing at this figure one day. The exponential growth of esports has brushed off on just about every company with a sufficiently manned community, leading to establishing of organised leagues for games like CS:GO, Overwatch, Dota 2, League of Legends, Paladins and many others.
The point is, esports is still realistically in its infant stages and judging by the sort of cash and exposure that the likes of Blizzard have started gaining as of late, it would be unwise, if not downright foolish, to let external factors disrupt that dynamic.
To be fair, Valve has already had similar experiences with CS:GO back in 2015, although the outcome is likely to be identical.