The investigation was revealed by Ian Smith, leader of the Commission for the Integrity of eSports (ESIC), an independent organization that has been operating since 2016 with the aim of investigating harmful practices in this segment. According to him, the federal investigation also has the support of local police and was initiated by a request from the entity, since the practice had been going on for a long time.
The exact period of the alleged scam, however, was not disclosed, as well as more details about the teams, matches and organizations involved. Smith only revealed that it was a “classic” occurrence of match-fixing, which works in an organized way from a small but significant group of players with a focus on North American leagues such as the CDM. The tournament is the only one mentioned, but the longevity of the supposed scheme suggests that more competitions may have been handled in this way.
Also according to the ESIC commissioner, the FBI has only recently begun to look closely at the problem of cheating in eSports matches, with a newly opened task force focused on such investigations. Smith points out that this has never really been a problem in the United States until now, while in Australia, where the organization is based, this type of manipulation is already treated as a crime.
The first such initiatives in the country of origin, in fact, should have results released soon, according to the representative, with indictments to be released in the coming weeks. Smith, however, differentiated the US issue, still incipient, from that found last year in Australia, with a major scandal involving dozens of players and teams, in addition to a system established between teams and sports betting sites.
There, the scandal involved more than 40 players, who even bet against or in favor of their own teams, manipulating the results from individual performances in order to maximize the financial gain. The investigations led to temporary or permanent bans on athletes in official CS:GO and, in Smith’s view, they drew attention to similar occurrences in other parts of the world.
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