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Australian police have arrested six men as part of an ongoing investigation into esports match fixing, and warned they plan to take any allegations of criminal activity within the industry very seriously.
The investigation is one of the first of its kind by Victoria police, and began in March 2019 after a betting agency informed the unit about suspicious activity it spotted at a recent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament.
The company told the authorities that players had been arranging to throw matches, before subsequently placing bets on those games. It's currently believed that at least five matches were affected at the tournament, impacting over 20 bets.
A press release from Victoria police explains that all six arrests were made after detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit, along with detectives from the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit, executed warrants at a number of properties.
All of those arrested were aged between 19 and 22, and have since been released pending further enquiries. Anyone eventually found guilty could face up to 10 years imprisonment.
"Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches," commented assistant commissioner, Neil Paterson.
“It’s important that police and other agencies within the law enforcement, gaming and betting industries continue to work together to target any suspicious activity. 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."