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Joint Statement by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) and ESEA regarding sanctions against seven CS:GO players for betting offences

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OVERVIEW

ESIC and ESEA have been jointly investigating multiple instances of breaches of ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Code within the Mountain Dew League (“MDL”) by several individuals.

In this statement, ESIC and ESEA issue the first formal findings resulting from the joint investigation in which seven CS:GO professionals have been issued with 12 month bans as a sanction for placing bets on MDL and other CS:GO matches in breach of both ESEA’s Rules and the ESIC Code.

INVESTIGATION OUTCOMES:

Summary of Outcomes

As a result of the joint investigation between ESIC and ESEA, ESIC has discovered that seven current CS:GO professionals playing in MDL Australia placed bets on MDL matches during their participation in the MDL (“Offending Parties”). Some of these individuals engaged in betting activity related to matches they were playing in themselves. Further to this, ESIC has identified that several associates of the Offending Parties also participated in betting activities related to the matches being played by the Offending Parties. In some instances, the associates placing bets mirrored identical bets to those placed by the Offending Parties.

These findings form part of a wider investigation and as such, ESIC will refrain from making further comments until other components of our investigation have been resolved. However, ESIC notes that the outcomes in this case do not exclude the possibility of additional outcomes relating to the Offending Parties and their respective teams and associates.

As the conduct of the Offending Parties observed by ESIC is in breach of Article 2.2 of ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Code (as well as ESEA’s tournament rules), ESIC and ESEA have sanctioned the players listed below, in accordance with Article 6 of the Anti-Corruption Code, with a ban of twelve months from all competitive CS:GO organised or promoted by ESIC members:

  1. Stephen “sjanastasi” Anastasi (LAKERS) [now playing as “stvn”]
  2. Akram “akram” Smida (Rooster) [now playing as “ADK”]
  3. Daryl “Mayker” May (Ground Zero)
  4. Corey “netik” Browne (Rooster) [sometimes spelt “nettik”]
  5. Damian “JD/The Real Goat” Simonovic (Rooster 2)
  6. Carlos “Rackem” Jefferys (Rooster 2)
  7. Joshua “jhd” Hough-devine (Rooster 2)

ESIC has, prior to the date of this release, issued the Offending Parties with Notices of Charge detailing the offense, ban applied and appeal mechanisms available to them.

Applicability of Sanctions Issued as a Result of the Investigation

As per all investigations conducted by ESIC, our determinations have effect across all of our membership. This includes members such as ESL, DreamHack, WePlay, BLAST, and many others.

ESIC also requests that all non-ESIC member tournament organisers honour these bans.

Further implications of breaches of the Anti-Corruption Code

Due to the nature of betting related offences (with certain betting activities potentially breaching criminal codes in particular jurisdictions) and ESIC’s relationships with several law enforcement entities internationally, including in Australia, ESIC has referred this matter to law enforcement.

Reminder to all professional players regarding betting activities

ESIC watches betting activity in esports for the purpose of protecting the industry against bad actors who wish to exploit the industry for personal gain. Without a unified understanding of the implications of inappropriate betting behaviour and observance of anti-corruption mechanisms (such as the Anti-Corruption Code), esports runs the risk of facilitating attractive fraud opportunities for bad actors. Accordingly, it is important that professional players understand that breaches of ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Code are a serious concern.

It is crucially important that professional players (at the very least) abstain from placing bets on the game in which they earn an income from in order to preserve the integrity of the esports landscape internationally and mitigate the potential for bad actors to take advantage of our sport.

For reference, an extract from the Anti-Corruption Code found on our website has been placed below:

ESIC Anti-Corruption Code (Article 2.2 Betting): 

The conduct described in the sub-Articles set out in Articles 2.1 – 2.4, if committed by a Participant, shall amount to an offence by such Participant under this Anti-Corruption Code:

2.2.1 Placing, accepting, laying or otherwise entering into any Bet with any other party (whether individual, company or otherwise and including any daily fantasy games in any jurisdiction where such games are regulated by a gambling authority or considered “betting” in a legal or regulatory sense and including “in-game” betting with in game items (eg skins etc that have real value)) in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any Match or Event in the Game that the Participant plays professionally or is involved in any other capacity, such as manager, coach, agent etc.  Any Participant that has significant involvement (in the entire discretion of the Integrity Commissioner) in a number of Games (such as a team owner or other team official) may not place or otherwise enter into any Bet on any of the Games in which he/she is involved.

2.2.2 Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging, intentionally facilitating or authorising any other party to enter into a Bet in relation to the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of any Match.        

By understanding the implications of certain betting activities as well as adopting and maintaining a proactive stance on anti-corruption, players can assist us in contributing to the safe growth of esports, including their ability to earn an income as professionals.

Further updates regarding investigative activities into the MDL match fixing matters

ESIC is in the process of investigating additional breaches of the Anti-Corruption Code within the MDL in both Australia and North America. As these investigations relate to other behaviours such as match fixing, they have been significantly more complex. As previously mentioned by ESIC in its release dated 3 September 2020, there are a high volume of investigations being coordinated by ESIC relating to match manipulation behaviour. These complex investigations are also subject to necessary collaboration with law enforcement in various jurisdictions which, whilst helpful, does significantly slow progress. Accordingly, ESIC will issue further updates in due course as we work with stakeholders to finalise our investigations and we appreciate the community’s patience whilst this happens. 

Thanks

Cooperation between ESIC and all tournament organisers in relation to anti-corruption matters are, in ESIC’s view, essential in the pursuit of safeguarding esports. We appreciate the proactive efforts of the ESEA in working with us diligently to investigate any indication of malpractice by participants within the MDL. Furthermore, ESIC would like to thank our Anti-Corruption Supporters for their collaboration on the investigation so far.

The original article can be found here.

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