Is there (another) Big Esports Match-Fixing Scandal Brewing?
Is the recent esports scandal about to have a serious impact?
Those who have watched the sport grow over the past decade have likely noticed that the industry has been vulnerable to match-fixing incidents, particularly with some games.
However, the latest incident could be the biggest scandal yet. The scandal allegedly affects a “small but significant group of players over a long period of time”.
While the esports betting industry has not caught on in the legal US market, it is expected to be an area of growth in the years to come.
The latest revelations on the sport
The latest revelations about a scandal over the integrity of the brewery sport come from an interview between Slash32 and Esport Integrity Commission (ESIC) Integrity Commissioner Ian Smithposted on YouTube on March 31st.
The video that was tweeted by a sports journalist Richard Lewis on the same day it was released, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated a match-fixing scandal in which the North American MDL was involved.
All the geniuses who said, “Derp, why hasn’t Richard Lewis gone public with the match-fixing material yet?” Outside law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have gotten interested, and that changes everything. https://t.co/ogwXWsGLir
– Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) March 31, 2021
The alleged fix was one of the more recent fixes, according to Smith Counterstrike.
What details do we have?
While Smith could not speak beyond general terms, he said:
There are two different elements of this investigation that I can tell you. One is that we have a very focused investigation … where we have really, very good corroborative evidence from Discord, various chat log screenshots, and player records that we are going to ban for a very long time. A group.
The reason I say this has two elements is this particular group of players. I am very, very optimistic that we can get this out to the public soon, in the next 10 days to two weeks. But it is part of a much larger investigation that will unfortunately take a little longer.
A relatively small but significant group of players had organized match-fixing in the North American MDL over a long period of time.
This is not Australia
Smith noted that the North American scandal was different from the match fixing scandal that took place in Australia at the time 2019.
Smith stressed that there is clear crime in Australia and the criminal nature of the investigation may slow the pace.
Smith stated that not all “42 guys wagered”. However, within those 42 players there is a segment that not only wagered on games but also supposedly determined the outcomes of games.
Here in North American sport …
The situation in North America has been described as “much more serious”. Smith said the scandal in the United States is a “classic match-fixing scandal,” which means that gamblers are being bribed to correct the results of games.
Involving outside organizations poses far more serious challenges than just players acting on their own to freeze games.
Smith stated that the correction “is taking longer and is much more organized”.
The FBI comes in
Smith noted that ESIC was working with the FBI, which has reportedly allocated resources to a recently formed sports betting investigative unit.
The FBI reportedly attended its first ever international match-fixing conference in 2019, where it was briefed on esports betting.
Smith noted that sports betting is still an afterthought in the United States.
Smith said that the regulation of sports betting in the United States is chaotic.
Smith doubled his criticism of the regulation of sports betting in the US, saying, “Most states have absolutely no idea what they are doing …”
CSGO is no stranger to controversy or corrections
Counter-Strike was no stranger to repair. There have been a number of high profile fixes over the past decade.
It is widely believed that the best-known solution until recently came about in 2014 when it was heavily favored IBUYPOWER lost too NetCodeGuides.
More recently, a match-fixing scandal involving several Australian players resulted in criminal charges after players allegedly placed bets on games and then threw the games.
New test for the US betting market
While details on what exactly happened are still sparse, the FBI’s involvement in an alleged match-fixing scandal should open your eyes.
One question that remains to be seen is whether bets have been placed in regulated sports betting.
Given the small number of jurisdictions that offer esports betting and the limited number of sporting events offered in those jurisdictions, it is possible or even likely that these bets have been placed outside of regulated books.
What does this mean for esports betting?
The FBI’s involvement should signal that what happened is serious.
We’ll likely learn more about this in the coming weeks, although it could be through the pull-off power should ESIC take action against some players prior to an FBI press release or by filing indictments by the Justice Department.
Given the involvement of federal law enforcement agencies, it is possible that charges that are filed may be included Sports Bribery Act This is the first time the law has been applied in relation to sport.