We have already seen many Australians being pinged by police and tournament organizers for illegal matchmaking and illegal betting on Counter-Strike, but the problem is apparently so serious that the FBI is now getting involved to clean up North America.
The revelation came from a new YouTube interview with Ian Smith, the commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC). ESIC is the body that worked alongside the Victoria Police to deal with match-fixing and the Australian Counter-Strike launch, but as you might expect, the problem goes much deeper than that.
In a chat with YouTuber slash32, Smith described how an investigation was underway “among a relatively small but significant group of players over a long period of time, organized manipulation of results in the North American CDM”.
“[It’s] what I would describe as classic match-fixing – players being bribed by outside betting syndicates to fix matches, rather than players just doing it on their own in an opportunistic way, and it’s been happening for a longer time, it’s very more organized . So again, to some extent, we are working with law enforcement and the FBI, which has only recently had a sports betting investigative unit within the FBI. They are good, but inexperienced, because sports betting has never been a big deal in America until recently, so everyone is kind of getting used to it, ”said Smith.
Smith also provided an update on Australia’s matchmaking investigations. Although the Australian approach to match-fixing has slowed – match-fixing is a crime here – Smith said they would be able to announce the charges within a few weeks.
“I am optimistic that we will be able to make this public soon, in the next 10 days to 2 weeks,” said the ESIC commissioner. “The betting scandal in Australia, where although it was a large group of players – and there is definitely match-fixing there, and we are working with law enforcement there, it takes a lot more time there when you start working with the police. Fortunately, in Australia, these are crimes. Therefore, coordinating everything with the police takes much longer. We have great solid cases there, and if it were just us acting alone, we would announce these processes now. But not all 42 guys were betting – it’s a much smaller group within it that was not just betting, but manipulating the results ”.
The case that Smith refers to is the massive bans applied to Australian players earlier this year. Some players received annual infractions for placing a bet on their own games. A small group of players within him, however, were banned for placing multiple bets against their own team in matches they were playing in, and in the interview Smith said that ESIC was able to cross the game’s chat evidence, records Discord and other supporting material to build your case.
Part of the reason North America is a little behind in this case is because legal sports bets were not kosher in the United States until quite recently. That didn’t stop fans and players from placing bets, but it didn’t really attract the attention of regulators in their respective territories until it became legal. The United States also effectively has 50 different territories and licensing laws, thanks to the way each state operates, while countries like Australia operate only on a national basis.
As for the Australian accusations, Smith said the following:
“We are going to deal with the first part quickly, because we are dealing with idiots, basically,” said Smith.
Not that it needs to be said, but honestly: stop betting on your own Counter-Strike matches. Just stop.