What happens when something that hasn’t been legal for ages suddenly gets the script flipped? A bunch of problems publicly unearth, that’s what. Sports betting has been a thing in other countries consistently, but in the United States, this activity only truly surfaced when the Trump Administration changed the law.
As a result, the FBI is now involved with investigations into things like… esports match fixing.
FBI Investigating Counter-Strike Match Fixing
This particular story revolves around the Counter-Strike scene, because of course it does. The game’s ubiquity in competitive gaming over the years has led to multiple scandals, such as the most recent and infamous “skin betting” system the community came up with.
Now that normal gambling is legal, a bunch of other activities have been exposed, and are being looked into by regulatory bodies. The funny thing about this story in particular is it didn’t come directly from FBI representation.
An esports-governing organization in Australia, the ESIC, brought it up in an interview about ongoing match fixing issues in that country. It seems like the investigation has kind of been on the DL for now, as the FBI is still getting acclimated into a space it hasn’t had to worry about for a long time.
ESIC commissioner Ian Smith called the Counter-Strike situation “classic match fixing,” meaning that outside interests are influencing players making these decisions, rather than players messing around amongst each other.
Along with raw inexperience, another roadblock the FBI has run into is so many individual state laws centered around sports gambling. Australia, which has already seen things like massive ban waves due to ESIC activity, has it much easier in that sense.
Also, according to Smith a lot of the illegal Counter-Strike activity in Australia is coming from “idiots,” so a list of charges are coming soon.