The commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission Ian Smith revealed on the HLTV Confirmed podcast on Tuesday that they are investigating 35 current and former North American CS:GO players for organized match-fixing, and some of them are now VALORANT players.
According to comments Smith made on Tuesday while discussing the ongoing match-fixing scandal, ESIC is working to investigate all instances of alleged match-fixing, including working with Riot Games to pursue some players who have jumped over to VALORANT.
"We are looking at 35 players, 6 or 7 teams, and we are getting there make no mistake," Smith said on the podcast. "There is amazing material we are looking at here, but it's going to take time. [...] It's seriously problematic, and bear in mind, a lot of these players knowing they are in the shit in regards to CS have tried to move to VALORANT or disappeared from the scene. We are not just working with CS here, we are getting wonderful cooperation from Riot and VALORANT on this."
As Ian Smith explained to Slash32 in an interview back in March, ESIC is investigating allegations that players organized match-fixing in the North American Mountain Dew League in 2020, as well as allegations that some players took bribes from outside organizations to fix matches. In both cases, if the allegations proved true, they could very well constitute instances of illegal sports better in the United States. While the investigation was made public months ago, according to Smith it has been taking a while to complete due to the limited resources ESIC has at its disposal.
"The minute that we went public some months ago with the existence of our [match-fixing] investigation, we were inundated with new information and evidence," Smith explained on Tuesday. "We are dealing with numerous other parties including law enforcement, and everyone has a different agenda in this [...] The FBI has its priorities, we have our priorities, the Canadian police have their priorities. [...] It's big, and we are upscaling our resources to deal with that."
Suspicious betting has increased 300%
Smith continued: "I want to put this in the context of what was happening in 2020. We had a 300% increase in suspicious bet alerts in 2020, relative to 2019. And we were not, by my own admission, resourced or scaled to deal with that escalation last year when everything went online. [...] It was wonderful for esports, but it brought some real shit with it and it has taken us a while to deal with that."
In addition to discussing the match-fixing scandal, Smith also analyzed the HUNDEN information-sharing scandal that led to HUNDEN receiving a two-year ban after ESIC found the Danish coach guilty of sharing confidential information with a competitor.
For now, we will have to wait and see which VALORANT players, if any, end up being implicated in ESIC's match-fixing investigation.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.