Victoria Police are currently conducting an investigation into whether one low-level Australian CS:GO esports team were involved in a betting and match fixing fraud across six matches early in 2019.
Two semi-professional players from that team have been arrested but as yet have not been charged. The other four team-members that competed alongside the duo, are not suspected of being complicit with match-fixing or attempting to throw any of the games.
In a separate incident, officials are also looking into the possibility of other examples of match fixing in other CS:GO games and they are also looking at allegations of organised crime links between an Australian Overwatch team, currently competing in the local Contenders level, chiefly because anomalies with betting have been reported in games involving that team.
The actions of the CS:GO team were watched by a number of viewers via a live stream, many of whom were incredulous at what they were seeing at the time.
One spectator stated that they had “never ever seen anyone throwing this blatantly in the history of low-level match fixing.”
Another remarked “how are they losing all rounds with the advantage, Jesus!”
A short time later the odds on the team changed and one observer noted “Look how [the] odds changed from 1.5 to 2.5. Just match fixed”
The news that two people have been arrested is good news for the esports community according to Australian esports integrity commissioner Ian Smith who stated about the arrests and investigation:
“It’s had a significant impact worldwide.
“The fact that people can be arrested for this stuff has elevated the…seriousness with which anyone is regarding the issue.”
More Cases to Follow?
Victoria’s Police Assistant Commissioner, Neil Paterson, has revealed that he feels the number of match fixing and betting fraud cases within the esports industry will increase.
“There is no test of a fit and proper person to be engaged as an owner of an esports team,” stated Commissioner Paterson.
“We are seeing people encroach on that area that have reputations that [mean they] probably…shouldn’t be involved in this part of esports.”
“I could absolutely guarantee that this wouldn’t be the only incidence of match fixing or betting anomalies on esports environments in the Australian market.”
Mr Paterson has revealed that the two arrested players are under investigation after having told associated to bet on the matches that they allegedly threw.
A total of two properties in Victoria and Western Australia have been raided and examined, while a total of six people have been arrested so far. However, Mr Paterson feels that there may well be many more people that could soon be arrested as part of the investigation.
The police suspect that up to $30,000 could have been won on the corrupt matches.
Two players that featured in the matches under investigation have claimed that the matches were not thrown, but that their play was just poor.
“We weren’t a serious team at this point,” said one of the anonymous players.
“We knew we weren’t going to win, but we weren’t intentionally trying to lose.
“We’re sort of washed-up players. We didn’t really care, we weren’t committed to playing professionally anymore. This was like our final run.”
If found guilty, then the players involved could face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.