Australian detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit charged five people last week in relation to a 2019 investigation into suspicious betting activity in a local esports tournament, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Five men, who had all gone to the same high school and university and were "from normal suburban families," have been charged with multiple counts of corrupt conduct for betting uses and engaging in corrupt conduct that alters an event or event contingency. The five men reportedly face "serious offenses subject to maximum penalties of 10 years' imprisonment," according to the ABC.
In early 2019, police received information from a betting agency that suspicious activity relating to an Australian CS:GO tournament was occurring. It’s alleged that some lesser-known pro players and their friends had been involved in creating a match-fixing scheme where players would throw their games and subsequently place bets on them.
The alleged match-fixing occurred at ESEA’s 2019 Mountain Dew League. As much as $30,000 could've been won in this illegal match-fixing scandal, according to Assistant Commissioner of the Victorian Police Neil Paterson.
With the popularity of esports in Australia still relatively low compared to other countries, an investigation like this was the first of its kind in the country. But with the industry expected to continue booming, efforts to thwart similar corrupt conduct will need to be taken even more seriously.
The men will appear before a Magistrates' Court later this year on Sept. 15.