Police in Australia have taken action in response to suspicious activities related to Esports betting markets, making six arrests as part of a match-fixing investigation.
The crackdown is the result of a co-operation between the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit and the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and is believed to be related to information provided by local police regarded suspicious behaviour connected to a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) tournament held in March this year.
Speaking about the case, the Assistant Commissioner of Victoria police, Neil Paterson, said that it was vital for all agencies to work together to target suspicious activity in the emerging Esports sector, as the demand for opportunities to bet on Esports tournaments increases:
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.”
It is reported that the case involves an alleged conspiracy on the part of Esports players to fix matches and then place bets on the outcome. The extent of the alleged match fixing is believed to run to five matches, with more than twenty bets placed by Australian gamblers. Six people have been arrested as part of the investigation and all six have been interviewed under laws related to the corruption of an event or event contingency for betting purposes.
Esports is a fast-growing phenomenon and the rise of Esports betting has posed potential integrity problems around the world. But the Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition, Ian Smith, said that Victoria Police had been proactive in seeking the help of his Coalition and that this example of co-operation between the sport, the betting industry and law enforcement could be the model for future investigations.