The first major match-fixing case in Australian esports history has resulted in the arrests of six people.
A betting agency had tipped off officers about suspicious activity at a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament in March. By the time police got involved, five matches had been impacted by players who were “arranging to throw matches” in order to benefit from bets they had placed on those matches.
The six men arrested were between the ages of 19 and 22. All six were from Victoria. The names of the six arrested men were not included in the Victorian Police’s press release, nor were the men who were served warrents in other areas of Australia related to the incident. Betting agencies are currently working with Victorian Police to further investigate the matter.
According to Victorian Police’s assistant commissioner Neil Paterson, this was the first time they had dealt with corruption in the esports and esports betting industries.
“Esports is really an emerging sporting industry. And with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches,” Paterson said.
Paterson went on to say that the warrants will hopefully highlight the seriousness of criminal activity within esports. The young age of those arrested speaks to a potential ignorance regarding the gravity of the crimes being committed. This won’t amount to much of an excuse for those who stand trial, but it can potentially serve as a warning for other young persons considering getting involved in illegal activity within esports that the consequences for criminal mischief will be just as severe as they would be in any other line of business.
The Victorian Police are also urging anyone with information about illegal esports betting and other suspicious activity to fill out a crime report here.