Police make arrests over esports match-fixing at tournament

August 27, 2019

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Police say six Australian men allegedly fixed matches in an online esports game and bet on the rigged results.

Victoria Police raided three homes in Melbourne's suburbs on Wednesday and two more homes on Friday, arresting six men aged 19 to 22.

The investigation began in March after police received information from a betting agency about suspicious activity linked to an esports tournament.

"It's alleged that players were arranging to throw matches and subsequently placing bets on those matches," Victoria Police said in a statement on Friday. "It's believed at least five matches were impacted and over 20 bets were put on the matches."

All six were interviewed but not charged. They were released pending further inquiries.

Police said the charge of engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome or event carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said this investigation involving the esports industry was one of the first of its kind by Victoria Police.

"Esports is really an emerging sporting industry and with that will come the demand for betting availability on the outcomes of tournaments and matches," he said.