In late 2020, the Esports Integrity Commission began investigating and suspending a number of professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players for illegal betting and match fixing practices. As the investigation has gone on, a number of additional players have been caught out, bringing bans to another 35 players.
Today, the commission announced that as part of its ongoing investigation into ESEA events in Australia, it has suspended 35 competitive CS:GO players. The suspension terms are different on a player-by-player basis, with some being barred from tournament play for five years.
ESIC issues sanctions against 35 players for betting related offences & extends bans for 2 players previously sanctioned in October 2020.
ESIC will continue to investigate further offences in Australia, NA and Europe in cooperation with law enforcement.
— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) January 22, 2021
“Over the past few years, ESIC has been investigating instances of betting behaviour violations and suspected match manipulation on a global scale”. This issue is “not unique” to ESEA events but that is the key focus for now.
There are levels to the sanctions that players can receive. If any player is caught betting on matches, they can be banned for 12 months. If a player bets on their own matches, the suspension period is bumped to 24 months. Betting on more than 10 matches will result in a 36 month suspension, meanwhile betting against your own team will get you banned for 48 months. Finally, if you bet against your own team more than ten times, you can be banned for a maximum of 60 months.
So far, 27 players have been banned for 12 months. Three players were banned for 24 months, one player was banned for 36 months, seven players were banned for 48 months and finally, three more players were banned for the maximum 60 months.
Of course, being banned from tournament play is just one issue for these players. Illegal betting activity can be prosecuted, so there is the potential for law enforcement to get involved with these cases. So far, this investigation has focused on Australia-based tournaments but ESIC is also conducting investigations in North America and Europe.
KitGuru Says: Betting and match fixing are major issues that esports organisations need to crack down on. It is going to be difficult for tournaments and teams to grow fanbases if we can’t even be sure that matches will be played out fairly.