Recently, we reported on the slew of match-fixing allegations coming out of the CSGO space. As far back as May 2020, these allegations were being circulated, and eventually, they caught the attention of the ESIC (Esports Integrity Commission). At the highest point of the investigation, the FBI was drafted in to offer resources and assistance.
With the ever-increasing popularity of esports rising steadily upwards, these situations are becoming much more volatile. In some cases, the top-tier esports tournaments – particularly CSGO esports – can be worth millions of dollars. And, when you add esports betting into the mix, you create the potential for some particularly malicious behaviour.
In this instance, a handful of players stood accused of deliberately throwing matches in exchange for financial gains. Now, the ESIC has published its findings, and more importantly, the outcome of this case.
Charges Issued; Sentences To Be Served
Following a lengthy and expansive investigation, the ESIC pushed for some decisive and strict consequences. It can be said that there is a need to stamp out this behaviour before it spreads, and that certainly is the case where this situation is concerned. In the most recent press release from ESIC, it was revealed that:
- Sebastian ‘retchy’ Tropiano would be banned from competing in professional CSGO tournaments for five years.
- Kevin ‘4pack’ Przypasniak would also be banned from competing in professional CSGO circles for five years.
- Carson ‘nosraC’ O’Reilly would be banned from competing in professional CSGO events for 111 days.
Now, it’s immediately obvious that there’s a difference in the sentences handed down by the ESIC. While retchy and 4pack were conclusively proven to have had a direct connection with match-fixing, nosraC‘s involvement was less of a serious matter. In fact, it was further revealed that nosraC may have been wrongfully accused:
“As at 22 July 2021, ESIC has concluded that there is currently no evidence that suggests that, unlike Mr Tropiano and Mr Przypasniak, Mr O’Reilly perpetrated any other breaches of the Code.”
Ultimately, nosraC‘s term was reduced to time served, and as of the 22nd July 2021, he has been permitted to compete in professional CSGO events. However, it must be said that this event has certainly tarnished his reputation, and may have long-term implications.
An Ongoing Struggle
The ESIC published damning findings towards the tail-end of its press release. It was revealed that:
“Most pertinent to the complications faced and the length of this investigation is ESIC’s observation of compelling evidence that suggests that organised crime groups and foreign betting syndicates were involved in fraudulent activities.”
Just months ago, in China, the biggest video game cheating ring was broken up by police and intelligence forces. This ring was worth an alleged $750 million, and it’s a perfect example of why organisations like the ESIC are performing some extremely important work.
As esports tournaments continue to grow in popularity, regulatory watchdogs will need to be on full alert. In an industry that desperately needs stricter guidelines and governance, this kind of situation can re-occur all too quickly.