The NBA 2K League has indefinitely banned six players and a coach for betting-related violations. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
The NBA 2K League has decided to ban six players and a coach from participating in any form of league activity due to gambling violations. The official esports league announced the news on Twitter this Thursday, also outlining how these people violated the organization’s fantasy and gambling rules:
An investigation discovered that Blazer5 Gaming’s Robert Nastasi, Dorian Earl Miller, and Christopher Lafanette, in addition to Jazz Gaming’s Kimanni Ingram, and Mavs Gaming’s Zekirri Dennis either placed bets or tried to place bets on NBA 2K League matches. They did so themselves or used other people to place wagers.
failing to report the violations
The players also broke other league rules by failing to report the violations or helping with the investigation. Blazer5 Gaming player Marquis Gill and team coach Andrew Maxie also received indefinite bans for not reporting offenses or cooperating with the probe.
League and Twitter responds
In the official league statement, NBA 2K League president Brendan Donohue deemed integrity a top priority for the league. He said: “We will always act forcefully regarding violations of the rules governing game integrity and the related reporting and cooperation requirements.”
Some Twitter users have taken aim at the players for their questionable actions. For instance, @xmikedrizzyx asked why they would need to bet on games given their high salaries:
Meanwhile, @THEREAL301 gave his own damning take on the situation:
The growing popularity of esports
Esports, like NBA 2K, has grown significantly in popularity in recent years. In multiple cases, its starting to rival traditional sports for viewership numbers. While other types of esports are more lucrative when it comes to prize money, the total up for grabs in the most recent NBA 2K season was $2.5m. Players also earn base salaries, get living expenses covered, and can sign endorsement deals.
NBA 2K game publisher Take-Two Interactive works alongside the NBA to run the NBA 2K League, starting it in 2017. In the most recent season, 22 of the 24 NBA 2K League teams were owned by NBA franchises. Blazer5 Gaming is affiliated with the Portland Trailblazers, Jazz Gaming with the Utah Jazz, and Mavs Gaming with the Dallas Mavericks.
As a result of the interest in esports competitions, betting on matches has become increasingly popular. Some betting sites focus entirely on esports betting, while most established sportsbooks will have at least some esports options.