Mentioned in this article
- Victoria Police have arrested six Australian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players for suspicion of match-fixing.
- Information from a betting agency suggested that the players planned to throw matches that they had bet on.
- The names and team(s) of the players have not been released. The alleged offenses carry a criminal punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
Police in Victoria, Australia, today announced that they have arrested six professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) players on suspicion of match-fixing.
Detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and the Organized Crime Intelligence Unit collaborated on the investigation, which began in March following a tip from a betting agency. The information suggested that the CS:GO players in question plotted to throw matches in which they had bet on, and the scandal is believed to have impacted at least five matches with more than 20 total bets.
The department has not identified the players or team(s) on which they played, or the CS:GO tournament in question. Warrants were served this week at properties in Mill Park, South Morang, and Mount Eliza, yielding six total arrests. Another warrant was served at a property in Perth by Western Australia Police with no arrests.
The players have been questioned and released, and the investigation is still ongoing. The alleged offenses carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. Detectives are also working with betting agencies, including Sportsbet, as the investigation continues.
“Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches,” said Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson, in a release. “It’s important that police and other agencies within the law enforcement, gaming, and betting industries continue to work together to target any suspicious activity. These warrants also highlight that police will take any reports of suspicious or criminal activity within esports seriously, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward.”
Match-fixing and illegal betting are constant concerns in the esports industry, and a number of scandals have bubbled up in various games over the years, including recently with LGD Gaming in League of Legends. In July, Riot Games hired Sportradar to monitor international betting for its League of Legends competitions, and the company will also investigate any integrity concerns that pop up.
The Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC) was formed in 2015 to spearhead efforts to regulate cheating and illegal betting in the industry. The ESIC works with numerous tournament and league organizers, as well as betting regulators. In 2017, ESIC integrity commissioner Ian Smith told The Esports Observer that the potential consequences of match-fixing—as seen in traditional sports—are “loss of major sponsorship deals, loss of audience, [and] loss of credibility.”