SBC News ESIC expands esports integrity watch with Victoria Police

ESIC expands esports integrity watch with Victoria Police

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) will collaborate with Victoria Police in combatting betting-related match-fixing in esports within Australia.

The agreement sees Victoria Police support ESIC, a not-for-profit organisation comprising government bodies, national federations, and event organisers, in its mission to safeguard the integrity of the burgeoning esports market.

ESIC will provide real-time betting alerts to Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) for esports events that exhibit suspicious activity.

Stephen Hanna, Director of Global Strategy at the Esports Integrity Commission, commented: “We commend Victoria Police’s proactive and engaged approach to working with ESIC to prevent and deter match-fixing in esports.

“Esports is a global industry that requires a global response to maintain integrity. By working together with law enforcement agencies, like Victoria Police, we can better identify and investigate suspicious betting activity and protect the integrity of esports competitions.”

Victoria Police previously conducted a successful investigation into esports match-fixing in 2019, leading to charges against five men.

The agreement allows the police to begin investigations immediately based on the information provided by ESIC, highlighting the global scope of esports and sports gambling.

2013 saw the state of Victoria amend its ‘Crimes Act’ to make the corruption of a betting outcome a criminal offence, now applicable to esports events.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Chris Gilbert emphasised the importance of immediate investigations, stating that esports players, often young adults with minimal prize money and a lack of integrity focus, might be more vulnerable to corrupt practices.

“This Letter of Arrangement will see ESIC sharing real-time suspicious betting alerts – particularly from offshore wagering operators – with our detectives, allowing for investigations into suspected match-fixing to commence almost immediately,” Gilbert commented.

“Unfortunately, given the demographic of esports, players can be potentially more vulnerable targets than players involved in traditional sports. They are often young adults who could be more susceptible to corrupt approaches by criminal entities due to minimal prize money and a lack of focus on integrity and education by game developers.”

The partnership highlights the importance Victoria Police and ESIC place on preventing and prosecuting match-fixing in esports, with anyone possessing information about illegal activities encouraged to report it.

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