eSports Players Facing Match-Fixing Charges
Australian police authorities have confirmed having arrested five Victoria-based Counter Strike: Global Offense (CS:GO) players on charges of eSports match-fixing. 4 of the 5 arrested are 20 years of age and the 5th is 27. Police have confirmed that the entire group is permanently locally based and that the official charge brought against those being charged is the use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes. Officials also confirmed that this type of crime carried a prison sentence of up to a maximum of 10 years.
In addition to the mentioned charge, one of the 5 faces a charge of the illegal possession of cannabis. The same person also faces a third charge – that of having been involved in an action or actions that sought to purposefully corrupt a betting outcome. Australia’s very first eSports court hearing has been scheduled for September 15th, 2020. The case will be heard by courts in Sale and Melbourne.
Fix-Alert: Suspicious Bets
When the initial arrests were made back in August last year, a total of 6 players were indicated to have been involved. The arrests were made on the back of an investigation conducted by the Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and involved at least five matches and 20 suspicious bets wagered.
The suspicious nature of the bets was what had initially drawn the attention of the investigative intelligence unit. Those involved had allegedly gone about their business by prompting a group of associated persons to wager bets on the outcomes of the matches in question, knowing of course full well in which direction the proceedings would be steered by the rogue players. Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson on a previous occasion wagered a guess of his own, speculating that a sum of money to the tune of at least US$19,245 may have been won and awarded as a result of the match-fixing activities.
Greed Is Behind It All
Paterson has declared the main motivation behind the crimes to be extreme greed. He referred to the millions of dollars typically earned by professional eSports players, as opposed to semi-pro players having to basically settle for crumbs by comparison.
eSports recently lived a second massive resurgence as more and more sportsbooks began focusing on professional gaming events in the absence of traditional sports events. Various major leagues and teams have started hosting their own video game matches and events in an attempt to generate publicity and in many cases, an income.