Recently there have been accusations (some proven) of match-fixing and illicit betting in professional Counter-Strike matches. Valve announced their verdict against the trend, bringing their ban-gavel down on multiple bigtime North American players. Now, they have added some stern advice: pros should stop betting altogether.
In a recent post on the Counter-Strike blog, Valve explained:
"Professional players, teams, and anyone involved in the production of CS:GO events, should under no circumstances gamble on CS:GO matches, associate with high volume CS:GO gamblers, or deliver information to others that might influence their CS:GO bets."
"To clarify -- as a professional player, team manager or event production staff, it is common to have personal relationships and/or privileged information about other teams and players. Because of this, we will always assume that you have access to private CS:GO-related 'inside information' that might give you an unfair advantage when placing a bet on any CS:GO game or match."
Now, this isn't quite a rule, but Valve expects pros to follow their code of conduct, which includes maintaining a strong personal brand (i.e. one not rampantly associated with shady dealings). So basically, if pros continue to place bets on sites like CSGO Lounge, they're running a big risk of having their careers incinerated by Valve's gigantic looming Sauron eyeball.
Valve concluded with a nugget of wisdom that should be obvious by now: poor behaviour from individual pros can profoundly harm people's perception of the sport as a whole.
"It's important to consider the substantial impact an individual professional Counter-Strike player has on the health and stability of the sport. Performing before an audience of millions of fans, you are ambassadors for your game -- the strength of professional Counter-Strike comes from the integrity of its players and teams."
Given that you can't talk about pro Counter-Strike these days without someone skeptically furrowing their brow at the latest scandal, I hope players take Valve's words to heart. The game's positives still outweigh its negatives for now, but in the court of public opinion, you can only screw up so many times before a behaviour turns from trend to identity. Right now pro Counter-Strike is only on a VACation to the doghouse, but if players don't shape up it could easily become a permanent arrangement.