Esports Integrity Commission working with FBI to probe Counter-Strike esports cheats

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The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) is working with the FBI to investigate match fixing and illegal betting in Counter-Strike competitions. 

The shooter is a lucrative prospect for esports players and teams, with Counter-Strike tournaments paying out millions of dollars in prize money each year. 

As highlighted by The BBC, ESIC commissioner Ian Smith told YouTuber ‘slash32’ that the Australian organisation is looking to unearth and stamp out opportunistic cheating and match fixing that has been “going on for longer and is much more organised.”

Smith explained the FBI has gotten involved to specifically investigate those more organised cheating rings, which have been accused of accepting bribes from betting syndicates to fix matches and deliver bumper payouts. 

The FBI has established a sports betting investigative unit to dig into those allegations, although Smith explained the division is still in its infancy.

“They are good but they are inexperienced because sports betting has never been a big thing in America,” he commented, adding that the FBI is currently investigating a “small but significant group.”

Ampere Analysis research director Piers Harding-Rolls said the integrity of esports competitions was “paramount” to the commercial potential of the industry, and explained the involvement of law enforcement was a positive step as esports looks to stand side-by-side with traditional sports.

“Clearly, it’s positive that law enforcement is getting involved in investigating these match fixing allegations,” said Harding-Rolls, speaking to The BBC. “This is the kind of robust response that is needed to help guide esports into a place where it can be more directly compared with traditional sports and continue its shift towards the mainstream.”

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