Australia: Victoria police, ESIC join hands to target suspicious match-fixing

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According to the latest understanding between Victoria police and the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) made earlier in February, the police will get real time updates in gaming events in order to target suspicious betting related to match-fixing in esports.

The info provider ESIC is a non-profit organization established back in 2015 to prevent cheating, doping and any form of manipulation that disrupts the integrity of an event. The members consist of national esports federations and tournament operators from around the world.

According to European Gaming, Director of Global Strategy at ESIC, Stephen Hanna said, “Collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the Esports Integrity Commission is essential to ensuring a fair and safe environment for esports competitors and fans. We commend Victoria Police’s proactive and engaged approach to working with ESIC to prevent and deter match-fixing in esports.”

With the information, the Victoria Police‘s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) can rule out suspicious activities and start necessary investigations as soon as possible. SIIU started its investigation for match-fixing in 2019 where it charged five people for corrupt behaviour.

Notably, match-fixing in esports is treated similarly to any other sports by the Victoria police, and the offenders can be subjected to an imprisonment of up to ten years.

The Victorian Crimes Act added four new criminal offences that are specifically related to offences disrupting an event’s outcome through betting back in 2013. The legislation refers to any corruption of the betting outcome rather than any specific sport, so it also covers esports events as well as online casinos.

It allows investigating suspected match-fixing almost immediately, says Chris Gilbert

Assistant Commissioner Chris Gilbert of Intelligence and Covert Support Command said, “This Letter of Arrangement will see ESIC sharing real-time suspicious betting alerts – particularly from offshore wagering operators – with our detectives, allowing for investigations into suspected match-fixing to commence almost immediately.

“They are often young adults who could be more susceptible to corrupt approaches by criminal entities due to minimal prize money and a lack of focus on integrity and education by game developers. Victoria Police will continue to target the infiltration of esports by any potential offenders – including by organised crime syndicates,” he added.

SIIU along with ESIC is also working with a number of esports stakeholders and wagering operators. Reports of any suspicious activities will be taken seriously as these are serious criminal offences, Gilbert told.