Australian police have arrested six people following allegations of match-fixing in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports scene.
The investigation started in early March 2019, after police received a tip-off from an undisclosed betting agency that noticed some suspicious wagering patterns that hinted at illegal activity.
A number of betting companies assisted with police inquiries, including Sportsbet.com.au.
The suspicious patterns started during a professional CS:GO tournament, which remains unnamed as police refused to reveal more information for the duration of the ongoing investigation.
The alleged match-fixers reportedly made deals with numerous players to purposely lose matches in order to guarantee wins on high-stakes bets made with the bookmakers.
The illegal activity took place in at least five matches that were played in the unnamed tournament, with more than 20 bets placed throughout the process.
Victoria Police arrested six men, aged from 19 to 22, three of which come from Mill Park, one from South Morang and two from Mount Eliza.
While no formal charges been laid as yet, all six men could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of match-fixing.
This case is the first of its kind for Australian authorities, who are determined to send a message of zero tolerance for gambling corruption in esports.
“Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches,” said Neil Paterson, Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police.
“These warrants also highlight that police will take any reports of suspicious or criminal activity within esports seriously, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward.”