E-sports rigging investigated
Victorian police are investigating alleged corruption in e-sports.
At a competition in February, a major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive online match attracted bets from around the world, but the result led many to question if it was ever a fair fight.
“I have never ever seen anyone throwing this blatantly in the history of low-level match fixing,” one spectator claimed in an online esports forum.
The allegations involved an Australian-based team.
Victoria Police are investigating whether around six matches played by the team earlier this year were fixed.
Police say up to $30,000 could have been won on the potentially corrupt games - more than some of the players involved had won in their entire careers.
Two semi-professional players have been arrested but not charged, the other four players in the team who competed are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
It is the first major Australian investigation into corruption in e-sports.
“It's had a significant impact worldwide,” Australia’s e-sports integrity commissioner Ian Smith said.
“The fact that people can be arrested for this stuff has elevated the … seriousness with which anyone is regarding this issue.”
Dr Mark Johnson, whose studies focus on the intersection of video gaming and money, believes the general ignorance of e-sports can contribute to the spread of corruption.
“The video game industry is worth more than films and music combined, but they are still not taken seriously,” he told the ABC.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson expects the issue will expand.
“There is no test of a fit and proper person to be engaged as an owner of an esports team,” he said.
“We are seeing people encroach on that area that have reputations that [mean they] probably … shouldn't be involved in this part of esports.
“I could absolutely guarantee that this wouldn't be the only [alleged] incidence of match fixing or betting anomalies on esports environments in the Australian market.”