In South Korea, playing sci-fi real-time strategy StarCraft is a big deal. There are professional players and televised games. Throwing StarCraft matches and illegal betting, however, is a bigger deal.
In what some are already calling the biggest e-sports scandal in history, the still-unfolding saga has seen pro gaming teams accused of intentionally losing matches and even leaking their own team's replay files to illegal gambling syndicates. It is believed to have started in 2006 and peaked in 2008.
The scandal is so widespread that it apparently reaches pro gaming coaches and even Ma Jae-Yoon, one of the most famous StarCraft players. The country's e-sports organizers apparently knew of the gambling, too, and tried to rectify the issue themselves by entertaining the idea of co-existing with the illegal betting sites.
During the 2007 and 2008 season, Ma Jae-Yoon underperformed and lost several important matches, posting the worst record of his playing career. At the time, it was thought that he never quite recovered from a big loss to a rival player.
The dirty teams are purging themselves by naming names. Some of the most serious offenders are even being forced to retire.
This scandal is already being compared to baseball's Black Sox. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball after throwing games in the 1919 World Series.