The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match-fixing controversy has exacerbated as players under investigation have found themselves on the radar of Riot Games, and the FBI.
ESIC’s inquiries into esports malfeasance have rocked the CSGO universe as the watchdog has been swinging the ban-hammer right and left on players. After coaching bug abuse, Australian players ban wave; the ESIC is now unveiling a betting syndicate in North America, with ESEA MDL at its center.
ESIC has actively been digging into the match-fixing allegations made against CSGO professional players during ESL’s 2020 Mountain Dew League. The investigation is finally gaining traction as more incriminating evidence has started to surface. According to ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith, the FBI is also involved in the inquiry, which may slow down official updates on the internet.
Earlier in September 2020, ESIC cited as many as 15 ongoing investigations that they believe to be of significant importance. Just a month after the official release, the players fell into the claws of an ongoing inquiry as a result of October 2020 match-fixing. The findings were crucial enough that the FBI’s involvement became imperative.
The news had caused a frenzy among the esports community who’s seldom seen FBI take an interest in ongoings of the gaming world. The FBI operates under the USA’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and tackles gambling cases in sports. Under RICO, the FBI has indicted 14 men connected to Qatar winning bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In CSGO pro scene, the funny business has caught the agency’s attention, who’ll now be overlooking the investigation.
“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.” Said Ian Smith.
What really went down?
Member of ESIC, Ian Smith, revealed that the CSGO watchdog has been assisting the FBI in investigating match-fixing cases in the North American CSGO. The initial statement laid out the barebones, but new developments justify the FBI’s interest.
The commissioner said that ESIC obtained evidence that revealed that it wasn’t your generic betting activity, but organized betting syndicates were “bribing” a group of players in ESL MDL. In this case, the punters knew the outcome of the game in advance in order to turn a greater profit. Upon further investigation, an audio recording was revealed by Dust.us, which confirmed the claims of ESIC.
Players participating in ESEA MDL Season 35 were blatantly discussing their schemes to make the fixed match look “legit.” The conversation between Sebastian “retchy“ Tropiano, Carson “nosraC“ O’Reilly and Kevin “4pack“ Przypasniak revealed that the then-Rebirth trio had planned to lose a game against Russian Canadians, which was later forfeited. The ongoing conversation was of retchy convincing 4pack to throw another game, during which a few other names were mentioned.
According to the leaked recording, Alex “vek” Voynov and David “J0LZ” Jolin were also complicit in the scheme, with the former agreeing to share his radar to change the outcome of the game. The other two Russian Canadian players, Dylan “Saturn” Finch and Ian “battery” Yates were kept in the dark to ensure that the game appears “legit try hard.” In exchange, retchy said that he’d share his profits from Bitcoin betting site with opponents’ in-game leader vek.
Transcript of the recording:
retchy: We’ve been planning to lose this game for the last five days; it makes the most sense out of every game in MDL. They need this win, we don’t need the win, and with their IGL on radar and you off the server, it looks guaranteed real.
nosraC: I don’t know if vek will agree to radar.
retchy: He does, he agrees to radar. On the condition that I’m letting him use two Bitcoin sites, and I’m going to share profit from those two sites. And J0LZ is okay with it too. And they’re not- I told them there’s no way you tell battery or Saturn, it needs to look like a legit tryhard game.
4pack: Alright, whatever. But I’m not setting up the Incognito game, I told you.
retchy: I know, I don’t think you should, you should join in while shrek is playing, like three rounds in.
Consequently, the five players involved in those two particular games have been suspended by ESEA. Before all the leaks and reports, vek had released a statement of his own, turning down the alleged recordings as flimsy evidence and detached himself from the situation. However, multiple premier players verified the authenticity before it was publicized, which led ESEA to take the big decision.
“There is no evidence of me personally agreeing to anything(because I am not involved at all). This person says my name, I do not know why. I cannot control whose name they say, and for what reason,” vek said.
It may seem like a tale of the past, but the suspensions highly impact a few players involved. Retchy and nosraC are still active CSGO players, currently playing for ChocoCheck, while vex and JoLz play for OCG. Both the teams were expected to compete in ESEA Premier’s playoffs, but the suspension changes everything.
Riot is taking the match-fixing allegations seriously
It’s no secret that banned, suspended, and abandoned CSGO players have found a safe haven in Valorant. Tons of similarities between the two shooters have made the switch easier for former CSGO players. Several pros under ESIC investigation are allegedly playing for professional Valorant teams, due to which the matter has snowballed farther in Riot’s shooter.
According to a report by Dexerto, Riot Games has initiated a private investigation into players coming in from other games. The inquiry will include players who’ve had an extensive professional background in CSGO. The initiative makes sense, as Ryan “Shanks” Ngo and Kevin “poised” Ngo are still playing pro-Valorant despite match-fixing allegations and rumors of being on ESIC’s list. Both the players were dropped by Dignitas after a short but successful period, leaving the fans confused. While the team didn’t reveal the reason behind the drop, the CSGO drama around the two could’ve been a contributing factor.
More news and suspensions should soon follow as the investigation is still underway. The reports will come out slower due to the FBI’s involvement and restriction over what could be shared on the internet. Rest assured, the inquiry will surely cleanse out both CSGO and Valorant pro scene of evil-doers.