Just because it’s a video game doesn’t mean there aren’t repercussions for serious breaches of integrity. Like betting on the CSGO match you’re playing in.
The Esports Integrity Commission announced late Friday night that seven Australian Counter-Strike players have received year-long bans for “betting related offences”. In simpler terms, that means some Australians were playing in one of the more higher profile CSGO leagues — the Mountain Dew League run by ESEA — and betting on their own games, or having mates/friends/associates place bets on those same games.
As pointed out when Victoria Police charged five Aussies under the Crimes Act for match fixing, there are genuine consequences for this stuff. Just because throwing a game of Counter-Strike doesn’t mean as much as, say, an A-League player or a cricketer taking a bribe, doesn’t mean you won’t get done. If anything, it’s especially stupid for Australians to be doing it: Australians love to bet on everything, but our scene is relatively so small that keeping an eye on even the smaller leagues is much more manageable for authorities.
It’s worth noting that the Esports Integrity Commission can’t, for instance, issue VAC bans to the players involved. ESEA ran the Mountain Dew League, but ESIC’s members include DreamHack, ESL, WePlay, BLAST, and other organisers, so an ESIC ban is as good as a blacklist from competitive Counter-Strike.
Not all of the players banned bet on their own matches, although ESIC’s summary of outcomes says “several associates of the Offending Parties also participated in betting activities related to the matches being played by the Offending Parties”. Some of those associates even placed identical bets to the ones placed by the players.
The full list of players banned, and the teams they represented, is as follows:
- Stephen “sjanastasi” Anastasi (LAKERS) [now playing as “stvn”]
- Akram “akram” Smida (Rooster) [now playing as “ADK”]
- Daryl “Mayker” May (Ground Zero)
- Corey “netik” Browne (Rooster)
- Damian “JD/The Real Goat” Simonovic (Rooster 2)
- Carlos “Rackem” Jefferys (Rooster 2)
- Joshua “jhd” Hough-devine (Rooster 2)
There’s some high profile Australian teams in there. Netik, for instance, and the Rooster team are currently sitting second in the MDL. They frequently pop up at the quarter finals or semi finals of major Australian qualifiers, sometimes going much further. They recently won the local qualifier for the DreamHack Masters Winter 2020 Oceania tournament, played in Perfect World Oceania, beat out ORDER and Avant to finish 2nd in the ESL Australia & NZ CSGO championship, and were one of the four invited teams to have a crack at getting a spot for IEM Beijing-Handan. Ground Zero are frequently in the mix as well, and while they’re certainly not on the level of Renegades or Greyhound, they’re…
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