Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a popular game for Esports enthusiasts. However, it is becoming just as popular with match-fixers too. The whole matter has now got so much out of hand that the FBI and the Australian police are getting involved to find and punish Esports match-fixers.
In Cahoots with Betting Syndicates
Ian Smith, the commissioner of Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), said that there was a “small but significant group” in the North American MDL that was fixing CS:GO matches.
The commissioner referred to the group as being organized and working in a “classic match-fixing” scheme. He said that players were bribed by criminal “betting syndicates” to fix matches and that the whole thing had been going on for some time and that it’s quite organized.
Australia’s Infamous CS:GO Betting Scandal
Last year, there was a large CS:GO betting scandal in Australia that ESIC discovered and dealt with by banning the players who were betting on their own matches.
Some of the players that were banned were betting multiple times and on multiple markets in the matches they were playing. Of the 42 players that were involved in the scandal, only a few went that far, but if the ESIC didn’t do anything, it is reasonable to expect that the whole thing would have become much bigger.
Ian Smith said that working on the CS:GO betting scandal in Australia was arduous work, especially because Australian police got involved and many people had to be coordinated.
However, because match-fixing is a criminal offence in Australia, it was much easier for the police and ESIC to form solid cases against the match-fixers, and Mr. Smith said that they were hoping to announce the charges and prosecutions soon.
The FBI Will Have to Find Its Feet Fast
Things may not be as easy for the FBI though. Betting in North America has only been legal for a short period of time, so US authorities don’t have much experience in tracking down and prosecuting match-fixers.
Also, the US has 50 different territories. That means 50 different betting legislatures and licensing laws. And if that wasn’t complicated enough, in some US states betting is legal, in some it is in the process of becoming legal, and in some wagering is still illegal. In contrast, Australia has only one national framework, and that helps when it comes to prosecuting and charging offenders.
Mr Smith shares these sentiments. He said that the FBI had never had a sports betting investigative unit. According to him, even though the Federal Bureau’s people were great professionals, they lacked the experience as sports betting had never been a big thing in the US until recently.
In other words, the sooner the FBI’s betting unit finds its feet, the quicker they will crack down on those North American match-fixers. Until the next ones appear, of course.