A player offers an incentive to entice an opponent into conceding, drawing, or changing the results of a match, encourages such an offer, or accepts such an offer. Refer to section 5.2 of the Magic Tournament Rules for a more detailed description of what constitutes bribery.
Dropping, conceding, or agreeing to an intentional draw must not be done in exchange for any sort of reward or incentive. Statements like “I’ll scoop to you if I get your FNM promo,” or, “Hey, If I make it into the Top 8, I’ll be in the money, and I can be pretty generous” are unacceptable. “Hey, I’m hungry, let’s intentionally draw so we can go get some food before the next round” is not an offer or an incentive, and as such is acceptable.
In the Finals, there is an exception to the Bribery rules that allow players to divide prizes as they wish, so long as it does not include incentives outside of the prize pool. If the final has a prize that is not divisible, like a Pro Tour Invite, then the player who does not receive the “award” prize must drop from the tournament — not concede, but drop.
Players can use information regarding the results of another match to determine if they want to offer to intentionally draw. However, they cannot consult those other matches, or reach an agreement with them.
In some events, during the single elimination, the players may decide to split all the prizes evenly. This requires the Tournament Organizer’s agreement, and must be unanimous amongst the players.
Wagering occurs when a player or spectator at a tournament places or offers to place a bet on the outcome of a tournament, match or any portion of a tournament or match. The wager does not need to be monetary, nor is it relevant if a player is not betting on their own match.
Wagering requires two or more people to be risking something. Offering a bounty on a player is not wagering. “I’ll give you a booster if you beat my friend” is only one person risking something, and even then they’re hoping they do have to give the booster away.
If the player was aware that what they were doing was against the rules, the infraction is Unsporting Conduct – Cheating.
- A. A player in a Swiss round offers their opponent $100 to concede the match.
This is an example of buying a win, and is not allowed. It’s an unfair advantage that basically would allow the person with the biggest wallet the ability to buy victories.
- B. A player offers their opponent a card in exchange for a draw.
This is an example of an incentive determining the outcome of the results. It’s not exactly as enticing as that one hundred dollar bill above, but it’s still not fair to everyone else that someone can use something else to influence the outcome of their matches.
- C. A player asks for a concession in exchange for a prize split.
Remember that players can agree to divide prizes — perhaps because they’re friends, or they feel bad about what happened to someone else in the event — but not if the split or exchange is contingent upon any kind of match result. Saying you will concede for a prize split is illegal. However, a legal scenario is: you offer a prize split, then, once it’s accepted, you ask your opponent to concede or you concede. In this scenario, the prize split was not dependent on a concession, despite the fact that once the prize split was agreed, one player no longer wanted to play.
- D. Two players agree that the winner of the match will be able to choose a rare card out of the other person’s deck after the match.
Even something like “a soda for the draw” or “a foot rub at home later” is something that’s now affecting the decisions of the players, regardless of the intent of that offer. It could be a “joke” between two players, but we’ll never know if that’s true or not.
- E. Two spectators place a bet on the number of games that will be needed to decide a match.
This is a great example of wagering that you might not have immediately thought of.
Bribery and wagering disrupt the integrity of the tournament and are strictly forbidden.
Earlier versions of the IPG had this penalty as Disqualification because of the severity of the disruption to the integrity of the tournament, that is still the case, using Unsporting Conduct – Cheating, if the player knew bribery or wagering were against the rules. It’s a lot harder to provide education to a player unaware that a small bet or what they thought was a valid prize split is against the rules when filling out disqualification paperwork than explaining why they are receiving a match loss.