ESIC involves FBI in North American match-fixing investigation
The esports watchdog group is collaborating with federal law enforcement as part of a larger investigation into players bribed to fix matches by outside "betting syndicates."
The Commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), Ian Smith, has revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now involved in the ongoing investigation into match-fixing in North American Counter-Strike, which has been underway since September 2020.
Mr. Smith stated that the investigation is covering two groups: one consisting of players who bet on themselves when the opportunity struck, and one group of players who were bribed by outside "betting syndicates" in order to fix matches in an organised fashion.
"It is part of a far bigger investigation, which is going to take us a little bit longer, unfortunately, which is that... there has been, amongst a relatively small but significant group of players, over a long period of time, organized match-fixing in North American MDL," the ESIC Commissioner explained in an interview with CS:GO content creator "slash32".
"We are, to some extent, working with law enforcement, working with the FBI, who only recently have had a sports betting investigative unit within the FBI. They're good, but they are inexperienced because sports betting hasn't really been a thing in America until recently, so everybody is kind of finding their feet on that one."
The findings of the first subsection of the investigation, Mr. Smith added, should be made public "within the next ten days to two weeks". He added that the commission has "really good corroborating evidence" of wrongdoing and that the players will be banned "for a very, very long time". In January, 35 players were banned for periods ranging from 12 months to five years for betting-related offences in Australian events.
"The first part we'll deal with quite quickly, because... we're dealing with idiots, basically," Mr. Smith said.