As early as May 2020, there were allegations being passed around suggesting that various players in the ESL Mountain Dew League were taking part in CSGO match-fixing. Although names weren’t initially made public, there were suspicions, and it wasn’t long before league insiders produced damning evidence against the wrongdoers.
To all the MDL kids that are throwing (yes, throwing, we know who you are), betting agencies can track who is making the large-scale bets and can trace it you or family members. This is an easy way to get banned or face jail time. Either withdraw or face the penalties.
— Match Fixing Isn’t a Real Crime (@RyanAtRBM) May 21, 2020
Allegedly, some teams were deliberately throwing matches at the behest of third parties who were quite literally bribing them to do so. While it was originally thought that certain participants in the league were throwing matches to capitalise on esports bets they themselves had placed, it turned out to be a much more serious offence.
According to reports, the ESIC (Esports Integrity Commission) had learned that organised betting syndicates had been putting pressure on MDL competitors to throw matches, offering them cash to do so. As a result of this revelation, the ESIC escalated their investigation, pulling in the resources of the FBI.
CSGO Match-Fixing: It’s a Real Crime
For the players involved in this crime, the ramifications are severe, as the FBI employed the use of RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act. This is an Act usually employed in the prosecution of organised gangs and crime syndicates – which fully shows the severity of the situation at hand.
In an official statement, the ESIC Commissioner, Ian Smith, was confident that this debacle would have a positive ending:
We have very good corroborating evidence from Discord – chat logs of players that we’re going to ban for a very long time.
Ultimately, this spells the end of the careers of anybody involved, particularly considering the crime is much more heinous than everyone originally thought. Furthermore, the Mountain Dew League will forever have a stain on its reputation, and people won’t be quick to trust it again anytime soon.
The ESIC confirmed that it will publish the findings of its investigation in the coming weeks.
However, the ripples of this investigation went further and wider than just the CSGO betting scene, as it was believed that many pros involved in the CSGO match-fixing scandal had relocated to the Valorant platform.
The CSGO match fixing investigation which has been steadily ongoing for nearly a year with pros now in Valorant has been confirmed by @slash32_ in an interview with the ESIC to now involve the FBI…
Things have been taken to a whole new level, more tomorrow, lots to talk about
— Jake Lucky (@JakeSucky) March 31, 2021
In response to this obvious concern, Riot Games confirmed that it would conduct an intensive investigation, specifically targeting those players accused of CSGO match-fixing. As esports grows exponentially, it seems this will be a growing concern, particularly as esports betting becomes a much more lucrative market.
This news comes mere days after police in China busted the biggest videogame cheating ring in history, worth an alleged $750 million. This successful operation came after an entire year of investigations had taken place, with Chinese police working hand-in-hand with Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate with ownership stakes in Riot Games, Activision, Ubisoft, Dontnod, and Epic Games, among others.
It was claimed that almost $50 million in assets was recovered following a string of raids, and more than a dozen websites offering hacks and cheats were shut down.
All this goes to show that cheaters really do not prosper.