The competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has unfortunately seen a lot of cheating and match-fixing over years. And now the Esports Integrity Commission has found evidence of another match-fixing scandal.
The possible fraud was discovered in CIS Regional Major Rankings matches. According to the Esports Integrity Commission, the event — which was part of the EPIC CSGO League — lacked “basic safety precautions” like anti-cheats and saving replays. This potentially helped Project X get away with some shady activity.
The ESIC stated that they received evidence against Project X’s chief executive officer Oleksandr Shyshko. He allegedly has active esports betting accounts and was placing “numerous bets on highly suspicious Project X matches.”
The Esports Integrity Commission also found that Shyshko “made accurate pre-match bets” when Akuma faced Virtus Pro. This was considered suspicious by the ESIC because 14 teams in the CIS region had previously signed a statement accusing Akuma of cheating in the competitoin by obtaining intel on their opponents’ positions on the game map.
All of this led the Esports Integrity Commission to do some digging. The investigation looked into betting and client information, match and player behavior data, prior behavior data, and other “relevant information.”
The evidence was enough for the ESIC to conclude the high possibility that match-fixing had occurred. But ESIC has s”no insight” into the tournament operation or any jurisdiction over the tournament. So for now, ESIC has sent the evidence to Valve for “further consideration.”
“While ESIC has not undertaken a full investigation into the detail, extent, and validity of any particular instances of match-fixing behavior and the perpetrators of such behavior,” ESIC commissioner Ian Smith said, “information on hand would indicate that this is a matter worth investigating further.”
Until Valve concludes an investigation of their own, the ESIC has recommended that all tournament organizers do not accept entries from Akuma or any team with three or more of the current Akuma players. They also advised against allowing any teams “associated with Oleksandr Shyshko.”
This is unfortunately not the first investigation of its kind. The ESIC partnered with the FBI to investigate match-fixing in CSGO back in August 2021. According to Smith, this was due to evidence of “organized match-fixing in the North American Mountain Dew League.”
Smith explained that the “classic match-fixing” included players being bribed by outside betting syndicates in order to fix matches. And it’s been going on for a long, long time.
The FBI was brought in but needed the Esports Integrity Commission due to their inexperience with esports and esports betting. While a new concept, it’s sadly commonplace in CSGO. The ESIC previously banned 35 Australian CSGO pros when they bet on their own match.