The crackdown on Australian esports has already begun, but a report from the ABC this morning has raised the stakes several notches after questioning the ownership of a local Overwatch Contenders team.
The report from ABC's 7.30, which went online early Tuesday morning, touches on the ongoing investigation from Victoria Police that resulted in the arrest of multiple Australian Counter-Strike players. The report includes previously unannounced details, however, including the figure that Victoria Police believe that as much as $30,000 could have been won on the rigged Counter-Strike matches that triggered the first major esports integrity investigation in Australia.
Last week Victoria Police announced six Australians had been charged over the rigging and betting on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive matches, one of the first cases of its kind in the country. And more charges may be coming, according to the esports integrity body that worked with Victoria Police on the investigation.
That's not the only juicy detail, though. Neil Paterson, the assistant commissioner of Victoria Police, told the ABC that he believed more esports corruption cases to emerge. And that was immediately followed by a paragraph suggesting that concerns have been raised around the ownership of an Overwatch contenders team:
[Victoria Police's] Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit has received reports of match fixing in other Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games, and about organised crime links to the ownership of an Australian-based team that plays the Overwatch Contenders game.
The team isn't named, although most of the teams in the Australian Overwatch Contenders league also have teams in other games. "We are seeing people encroach on that area that have reputations that [mean they] probably … shouldn't be involved in this part of esports," the assistant police commissioner is quoted as saying.
I've contacted Blizzard Australia for comment, asking whether they were aware of the investigation, the assistant commissioner's remarks and what steps they take to ensure the integrity of tournaments in Australia. I've also contacted the Esports Integrity Commission, which helped Victoria Police with the original Counter-Strike investigation, for further clarification on the commissioner's remarks.