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FBI investigates match-fixing in Counter-Strike eSports

Australian and US authorities are investigating a handful of players for match-fixing and illegal betting in Counter-Strike competitions.

The Esports Integrity Commission is working with the FBI to investigate a “small but important group.”

The allegations include accepting bribes from betting unions to arrange matches.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a popular competitive title with millions of pounds in prize money.

In an interview with YouTuber and slash32 gamer, ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith said his organization was working with the FBI not only to see “gamers are doing it on their own, opportunistically” but also to the fixing of matches which longer [and is] much more organized “.

The most opportunistic cheaters, whom Mr Smith described as “idiots,” risk facing bans, and details will be announced shortly, he said.

The second more serious investigation into organized match-fixing will likely take longer, in part because the FBI only recently set up a sports betting investigation unit.

“They are good but they are inexperienced because sports betting has never been a big thing in America,” Mr. Smith said.

Counter-Strike is one of the oldest eSports titles, and its hefty prices make it vulnerable to both match-fixing and the use of cheat software.

In January, ESIC banned 35 Australian players who violated its anti-corruption code. It follows the bans of seven players in 2020.

Also last year, 37 coaches – people who oversee player teams – were banned for exploiting a bug that gave them unlimited view of certain parts of the game’s maps.

Research Director at Ampere Analysis, Piers Harding-Rolls said the integrity of eSports is “paramount to its commercial potential”.

“Any factors that compromise this will have broader business ramifications for an industry that often struggles with profitability,” he added.

“Clearly, it is positive that law enforcement is involved in investigating these match-fixing allegations. This is the kind of robust response that is needed to help guide eSports to a place. where it can be more directly compared to traditional sports and continue its transition to the general public. “

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