Six Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players on match-fixing suspicion were arrested by Australian police in August: players allegedly made a deal to throw matches, and then placed bets on those matches themselves. Now a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation says police have received reports of corruption involving a pro overwatch team as well.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said that the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit of the force has received additional reports from CS: GO match-fixing, and there are also allegations that the owners of an Australian-based Overwatch Contenders team have links to organized crime. That team was allegedly involved in matches where there were reports of “betting anomalies.”
“There’s no test of a fit and proper person to be engaged as a sports team owner. We’re seeing people invading that area with reputations that[ mean they] probably… shouldn’t be involved in this part of sports,” Paterson said. “I could absolutely guarantee that this would not be the only[ alleged] incidence of match-fixing or betting anomalies on the Australian market’s sports environments.” Sydney lecturer Mark Johnson said that one of the reasons for the spread of corruption is simply that sports remain largely misunderstood by mainstream audiences.
“The industry of video games is worth more than combining movies and music, but they are still not taken seriously,” said Johnson. “I don’t really watch traditional sports, but I know what they are, whereas you don’t know anything about them if you don’t watch sports.” But even those who are familiar with sports may not fully perceive the seriousness and potential consequences of their actions. Paterson said that five of the people recently arrested were 20 years of age or younger and had no criminal history, but now faced up to ten years in prison for a betting result-related corrupt conduct.”
“At quite a young age, they get involved in[ corruption] offenses that have serious consequences for them,” he said. “The sheer volume of young men involved in gambling, both in high school and in universities, is at an epidemic level. I don’t see anyone doing anything specifically about it.”
The amount of money involved in the match-fixing case of CS: GO is estimated at $30,000, but the potential for far greater losses is evident given the potential prizes for top-tier gambling competence.
For now, the investigation of CS: GO match-fixing allegations by the Victoria Police is ongoing: Paterson said he believes a result could be arrested by “dozens” more people.