Victoria police in Australia have arrested six professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) players on suspicions of match-fixing. The Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and the Organized Crime Intelligence Unit teamed up on the investigation dating back to March, after they were tipped off from a betting agency.
There is no word yet on who the players are or which teams the players are from, but a total of six arrests have been made in this instance. The information from the betting agency that tipped off the authorities was that the players in question planned to throw the games that they had bet on, impacting at least five matches and over 20 bets in total.
The players have been questioned and released already, according to sources, but the investigation is still ongoing. The players face a maximum of 10 years in prison for the match-fixing, a punishment which some may see as a little harsh, but this is definitely something that has plagued the esports scene for a while.
This is not the first time that betting scandals and esports have gone hand-in-hand. Recently, at the beginning of the year, Xiang ‘Condi’ Ren-Jie, infamous LGD League of Legends player was banned for 18 months from the competitive scene. He admitted to LPL officials that he was being pushed to throw matches. He said that his manager, Song ‘Hesitate’ Zi-yang was blackmailing the player into doing the match-fixing, with threats to expose him if he refused.
Who could forget the scandals of 2017, where Trevor ‘TmarTn’ Martin and Thomas ‘Syndicate’ Cassell were outed as owners of the CS:GO gambling website that they promoted to their users? Both Martin and Cassell were actually president and vice president of CS:GO Lotto respectively, a site that encouraged underage players to game away their in-game skins.
It can go even further back to 2014 when iBUYPOWER, a then popular CS:GO team was banned by Valve for competing in tournaments, as they were fixing games and placing high-value bets with smurf accounts on CS:GO Lounge, to net themselves tome huge profits. This led to Valve laying out ethical obligations to all players, saying that players, managers and team staff “should under no circumstances gamble on CS:GO matches, associate with high volumes of CS:GO gamblers, or deliver information to others that might influence their CS:GO bets.”
The organization iBUYPOWER hasn’t actually put forward a CS:GO team since, and the players, Sam ‘DaZeD’ Marine, Braxton ‘swag’ Pierce, Keven ‘AZK’ Lariviere and Josh ‘steel’ Nissan have been banned from all Valve-sponsored events, a ban that still exists to this day.
None of the players mentioned above have had any actual law enforcement taken upon them, as many have received fines, bans and public scrutiny. With the issue becoming more and more prevalent, the Esports Integrity Coalition that was established back in 2015, is the watch dog for ethics and behavioral governance. They look at professional esports players aiming to cheat, DDoS other players, match-fix or take performance enhancing drugs.