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The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has agreed to work with Australia’s Victoria Police in the fight against match-fixing in esports.
You may recall that Australia was the home of one of the most notorious CSGO scandals in recent times. This focused on match-fixing within the Australian Mountain Dew League over a two-year period.
Seven players were given 12-month bans for their role in the scandal and this latest agreement between Victoria Police and ESIC will give the investigators a big advantage in the fight against this type of corruption.
The key part of the agreement, which was signed off by both parties back in February, will see Victoria Police given access to real-time data in the fight against betting-related match-fixing.
Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) will receive real-time alerts should any matches offered on esports betting sites show signs that there is suspicious betting activity on a game.
This means that detectives will be able to identify the fraud whilst it is being attempted.
The hope is that this will lead to more detection of such fraudulent activities and allow the police and authorities to react far more quickly to the incident.
Experience of Match-Fixing
The issue of match-fixing within esports betting in Australia is something that Victoria Police already has experience in.
In 2013, the Victorian Crimes Act was amended to include four new offences directly related to corruption in betting on an event.
Crucially, the type of event is not specified, just the corruption of a betting outcome, which means that esports events are covered under this legislation.
Back in 2019, they conducted an investigation into match-fixing in Australian esports. That resulted in five men being charged over a range of offenses to do with match-fixing and betting fraud.
Penalties for such offenses can be severe and can carry a maximum sentence of ten years.
“Susceptible to Corrupt Approaches”
Speaking about the agreement, the Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police, Chris Gilbert commented:
“Sports gambling and esports are global industries and the international aspect can make match-fixing investigations extremely complex.
“This Letter of Arrangement will see ESIC sharing real-time suspicious betting alerts – particularly from offshore wagering operators – with our detectives, allowing for investigations into suspected match-fixing to commence almost immediately.”
Mr Gilbert then remarked upon how esports competitors are potentially more likely to encounter fraudsters. Mr Gilber explained:
“They are often young adults who could be more susceptible to corrupt approaches by criminal entities due to minimal prizemoney and a lack of focus and integrity and education by game developers.
Victoria Police will continue to target the infiltration of esports by any potential offenders – including by organised crime syndicates.”
Stephen Hanna, the Director of Global Strategy at ESIC remarked:
“Esports is a global industry that requires a global response to maintain integrity. By working together with law enforcement agencies like Victoria Police, we can better identify and investigate suspicious betting activity and protect the integrity of esports competitions.”