The Esports Integrity Commission’s (ESIC) Ian Smith has confirmed that 35 players from North America are under investigation for match-fixing. This comes after months of discussion surrounding match-fixing rings in NA’s Mountain Dew League (MDL), allegedly involving some players who have now switched to VALORANT. In the same confirmation by Smith, he also stated that ESIC is working directly with Riot Games.
According to @ESIC_Official commissioner on @HLTVconfirmed there are 35 NA players being investigated for CSGO match fixing, many of whom have gone to Valorant— Jake Lucky (@JakeSucky) August 31, 2021
They are now also cooperating with Riot Games on this pic.twitter.com/AiGsqYQWvS
Ian Smith made the statement on HLTV‘s Confirmed podcast, though gave few additional details. NA’s past match-fixing is currently being taken very seriously, with Smith having said earlier this year in an interview with YouTuber slash32 (via Dexerto) that the commission is working with the FBI in the U.S., along with law enforcement in Australia.
“In North America, it’s much more serious,” Smith said in the interview at the time. “[It’s] what I would describe as classic match-fixing. In other words, it’s players being bribed by outside betting syndicates in order to fix matches. Rather than players doing it off their own backs, opportunistically.”
Smith also said in the same interview that a “relatively small, but significant group of [CSGO] players” organized match-fixing in NA MDL over a long period of time and that his team had wanted to go public but couldn’t because of law enforcement’s involvement.
ESIC has recently been in the news for its work in relation to the coach cheating scandal. ESIC is a non-profit members’ association established in 2015 to promote and facilitate competitive integrity in esports. It works with a number of tournament organizers as an unbiased third party that can investigate potential violations of competitive integrity across teams and players.