Match-fixing in Counter-Strike isn't new. It's happened so many times before and it still happens occasionally. However, they often get caught. When that happens, law enforcement agencies very rarely get involved. Often, it's tournament organizers, commissioning bodies, and Valve, that take care of this, banning involved players from competing professionally.
With that said, match-fixing in Counter-Strike has become so bad that local enforcement is stepping in. In fact, it's so prevalent in North America that the FBI is lending a hand to try and investigate the match-fixing incidents.
Why Is FBI Investing a Counter-Strike Match-Fixing Incident?
Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) commissioner Ian Smith recently talked about how the FBI is getting involved. He says that it's not just a couple of matches that are under scrutiny right now. Rather, it's likely dozens of match-fixing incidents involving professionals and Valve's premiere shooter, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
In an interview with YouTuber slash32, Smith talked about how the FBI is currently investigating a "small but significant group of players". He explains that it's not just players betting on themselves or against each other. Rather, there's reason to believe that the said players have been involved in organized match-fixing for a long period of time.
Smith reports that some betting agencies are going as far as bribing teams to throw matches intentionally. In turn, this will allow the syndicates to make a quick buck out of the matches.
The main reason why the FBI is stepping is that it's the primary arm of law enforcement when it comes to everything under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, otherwise known as RICO.
Smith adds that he believes that they'll have a chance to go public with the information they have "within the next 10 days to 2 weeks". He also takes this time to talk about the same incident in Australia and why the procedure is taking longer there.
According to Smith, match-fixing is a criminal offense in Australia. This is the reason why it's taking them a long time to coordinate with local law enforcement. But, once caught, violators don't just face bans. They're facing some serious jail time.
Up to five men were sent to prison last year to serve up to 10 years. This was after the investigation found corroborating evidence for match-fixing from their Discord logs and in-game chat.
What's Next For the FBI and CS:GO?
It's clear that we're way past competitive bans at this point. Since it's been a while since the investigation started, we should expect the ESIC to announce their decision soon enough. However, regardless of what they decide, this is bound to hurt esports on a global level.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the latest iteration of the iconic shooter franchise, Counter-Strike. It is available exclusively on the PC via the Steam platform. It is widely considered one of the most popular esports titles in the world.