September 25, 2019 Australia’s CS:GO match fixing may also have spread to Overwatch.
Australia’s esports match fixing scandal may be bigger than first thought. As well as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches, a report from ABC suggests that betting anomalies have also been reported in local Overwatch tournaments.
Last month, six men between the ages of 19 and 22 were arrested in Australia over alleged CS:GO match fixing after a four month investigation. A statement issued by the Victoria Police department says that “at least five matches were impacted,” and that more than 20 bets were affected during a tournament in March. According to ABC, however, the department’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit has received reports that the issue may have spread further.
The unit has reportedly received information of match fixing in more CS:GO matches, as well as in the local Overwatch Contenders league. Other reports also suggest that the ownership of that team has links to organised crime in the area.
Victoria PD assistant commissioner, Neil Paterson, told ABC that due to the lack of scrutiny over the ownership of smaller esports organisations, he could “absolutely guarantee” that this is not the only alleged incidence of esports match-fixing within Australia.
Paterson also believes that many more people could be arrested as part of the ongoing investigation. So far, AU$30,000 (US$20,254, £16,351) may have been won as a result of the alleged match fixing.
The offences – “engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency” and “use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes” – carry sentences of up to ten years imprisonment for those arrested earlier this year.
The case is one of the first of its kind in Australia, but Paterson has previously suggested that cases could increase. “Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches. It’s important that police and other agencies within the law enforcement, gaming and betting industries continue to work together to target any suspicious activity.”