September 25, 2019

Australian authorities investigate esports corruption

Sydney, Australia—ABC News has reported that Victoria Police are pursuing multiple esports related criminal investigations. One of the most shocking allegations is what the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit has uncovered. The Intelligence unit received information that the owner of an Australian Overwatch Contenders team may have ties to organized crime.

Possible match-fixing shatters integrity

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said that part of the Overwatch Contenders investigation involves allegations that two competitors told their associates to bet on fixed matches. This investigation is part of an ongoing effort by authorities to stop corrupt practices throughout Australian Esports. 

Just last month, the Esports Integrity Commission played a crucial role in helping Victoria Police arrest six individuals. The arrests came following a six-month-long investigation.

“We want the esports community to know that ESIC will pursue as many cases as we can, not just to apply esports sanctions like banning orders, but also to try and ensure these corrupt players face criminal consequences too,” says ESIC Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith.

The press release also pointed out that the ESIC was helping the Victoria Police in other ongoing cases.

Commissioner Paterson implied that dozens of other people may be arrested as a result of the investigation “which has already resulted in six arrests and houses being raided in Victoria and Western Australia.” Victoria Police estimate that $30,000 could have been won as a result of this scheme.

Bad fix, or just bad play?

One player told ABC News that he was unaware of any attempts to rig the matches.  Further muddying the waters around the suspicious matches during the CS:GO ESEA-Mountain Dew League tournament.

The competitor, who is not identified in the article, points out that the team was competing “in order to fill a last-minute vacancy.” The unidentified source goes on to say “Any sort of [corrupt] behavior like that, if it did occur, could have easily been concealed, just because of how bad we were.”

Even viewers and bettors voiced their outrage, claiming outright trowing of matches. ABC News included portions of forum posts from HLTV.org that show reactions to the matches. Some viewers commented saying it is blatant match-fixing while others claim the team was “just bad.”

Image via ABC News

These investigations are ongoing, while further results are pending. However, Integrity Commissioner Ian Smith points out that there have already been repercussions for esports globally.

“It’s had a significant impact worldwide,” he says.

Esportz Network reached out to Blizzard Entertainment and the Victoria Police, but neither replied before the publication of this article.

Written by Efren Hurtado

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