Six arrested over esports match-fixing in Australia

23 August 2019

Six people have been arrested in Australia after a betting agency tipped off the authorities about suspicious gambling activity on an Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) esports league.

Detectives from the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SSIU), along with detectives from the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit, executed warrants at a number of properties around Melbourne.

The investigation commenced in March 2019 after police received information from a betting agency about activity linked to the CS:GO tournament.

Victoria Police said players were arranging to throw matches, then subsequently betting on these events. They added that at least five matches were impacted, and over 20 bets were put on the matches by Australian punters.

All six men have been interviewed in relation to the offences of engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency, or use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes. These offences carry up to 10 years imprisonment.

The six have since been released pending further enquiries and the investigation remains ongoing. Detectives from the SIIU are also continuing to work with a number of betting agencies, including Sportsbet.

Assistant commissioner Neil Paterson said the investigation involving the esports industry was one of the first of its kind by Victoria Police.

“Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches,” he said. “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.

“These warrants also highlight that police will take any reports of suspicious or criminal activity within esports seriously, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward.”

The SSIU was founded in 2013 to proactively focus on monitoring integrity issues across all sporting and racing codes. It was created in the wake of the Australian Crime Commission's report into drugs and corruption in Australian sport.