The FBI is reportedly investigating cheating in professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches in North America.
As spotted by Kotaku, the commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), Ian Smith, said the organisation was working alongside the FBI on an ongoing investigation into “a relatively small but significant group of players over a long period of time, organising match fixing in North American MDL”.
“[It’s] what I would describe as classic match-fixing – players being bribed by outside betting syndicates in order to fix matches, rather than players just doing it off their own bat opportunistically. It’s been going on for longer, [and] it’s much more organised,” Smith told YouTuber slash32.
“So again, to some extent, we’re working with law enforcement and the FBI, who only recently have had a sports betting investigative unit within the FBI. They’re good, but they’re inexperienced because sports betting has never been a big thing in America until recently, so everybody’s kind of finding their feet on that one.”
As for the ongoing Australian investigation? Back in January, the ESIC announced sanctions against 35 Australian CS:GO players who breached its Anti-Corruption Code, hot on the heels of the seven who received sanctions back in October 2020. Two players who were sanctioned last year have also had their bans extended.
The sanctions were issued for players who bet on matches in ESIC member events, including on their own matches or their team’s matches. The bans range from a “level one” 12-month ban for players who bet on matches, all the way up to a level five 60-month ban for aggravated betting against their own team.
Smith says we’ll hear more about these charges soon.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to go public with this soon, within the next 10 days to two weeks,” the commissioner added. “The betting scandal in Australia where whilst it was a large group of players – and there definitely is match-fixing there, and we’re working with law enforcement there, it takes a lot longer there once you start working with the police.
“Fortunately in Australia, these are criminal offences. So getting it all coordinated with the police takes a lot longer. We’ve got great solid cases there, and if it was just us acting alone, we’d announce those prosecutions now. But it isn’t all 42 guys that were betting – it’s a much smaller group within that who were not just betting, but manipulating outcomes.”