CS:GO and Valorant Match Fixing – A Growing Problem?
Both CS:GO and Valorant have had some major developments in match fixing this past weeks. Bizarrely high levels of investigation into CS:GO match fixing has been reached. Valorant match fixing is seemingly becoming a problem too, especially with organizations currently signing transitioning players from other titles that have been previously involved in match fixing in other games.
Match fixing in esports throws both players and fans expectations of the game into problems. Without a fair playing field, there isn’t as much fun in following a sport. Equally if someone’s involved with esports betting, it would be particularly frustrating if the outcome was fixed. Developers do their best to cut down on match fixing, but it feels like it is becoming a bigger problem.
As part of the ongoing @ESIC_Official investigation, we are suspending the players from Team Rebirth from all competitions until the investigation is concluded.
We continue to support ESIC and will always enforce actions against violations of competitive integrity. pic.twitter.com/zISZUgtmyM
— ESEA (@ESEA) April 3, 2021
CS:GO match-fixing under increased scrutiny
CSGO match fixing problems have a long history, but they got particularly bad last year. Valve’s match fixing problems were extensive in this game and so widespread, that recently the ESIC and FBI have been investigating match fixing in North America
Mountain Dew League (MDL), the ESEA Seasonal League is the target, with what ESIC described as a “classic match fixing” scandal. The story goes that the target of the investigation are not just CSGO players, but individuals involved with betting and wagering as well.
Meanwhile, Dust2.us released a voice recording between Kevin “4pack” Przypasniak and Sebastian “retchy” Tropiano directly discussing fixing games at ESEA MDL Season 35 last October. Both players were recently part of Rebirth Esports, but have since left to form a team called ChocoCheck, rumoured to be sponsored by a “friend” of Retchy.
Every player “directly involved” in the leaked recording has been suspended by ESEA until May 3 for a “Gambling Violation”. Apart from the two mentioned above, Alex “vek” Voynov, David “J0LZ” Jolin and Carson “nosraC” O’Reilly were also handed suspensions.
The scary side of the story is the fact that ChocoCheck are not a bad team overall, and came really close to qualifying for BLAST Premier Showdown only days ago. Their potential willingness to drop games on “request” implicates more then just the North American tier2 scene.
The match-fixing problem is directly related to esports betting, and not just throwing games to allow other teams to win events. The FBI being involved with the recently formed sports betting unit, points towards this as well. The real meat of this story will likely develop in the following month.
Valorant match fixing problem on the rise
Their latest expansion to shooters, Valorant, seems to have inherited more than just gunplay from CS:GO. According to a news post by Richard Lewis, Riot Games are also looking into match-fixing recently, especially after more and more Valorant teams are looking to former CS:GO talent to fill their rosters. According to the report, Riot has begun to conduct interviews with specific Valorant players. This is to investigate match fixing allegations that have been around for a while. The details on these allegations aren’t exactly public, although there have been plenty of rumours in the community.
It hasn’t been made public just how much has gone wrong or anything has gone wrong just yet. Match-fixing is likely not happening at scale in Valorant, likely due to a very limited offering of markets at betting providers. Additionally, Riot have managed to keep most of it behind closed doors. If they investigate the problems themselves, they may want to avoid revealing the extent of potential match fixing as well.
However, this would be a problem for the game going forward. Fans and players have to feel like matches and esports events are fair. That can’t happen with match fixing. Especially when match fixing is then dealt with behind closed doors. The community needs to be told about the match fixing that affect events so far, so they can trust games in the future.
It is true that Valorant teams have pursued and signed players with match fixing allegations from their past in CSGO, with the investigation set to come out some time this year
If you are the Org, what do you do if one of your players had a history of fixing in a different game?
— Jake Lucky (@JakeSucky) March 28, 2021
Something currently spreading around is that Valorant teams specifically sought out match fixing players. This is obviously a source of confusion for fans. Hiring players who are highly skilled but don’t play fair might feel like a quick way to a decent roster, but it has some obvious problems. The most cited story is the one of Kevin “poised” Ngo, who was released from Dignitas after his match-fixing scandal broke out last September.
Both CS:GO and Valorant match fixing problems clearly go a lot further than a lot of fans may have initially imagined. Both of their major games are undergoing big investigations. It draws all results into question. On top of that, if you bet on esports it runs the risk that you weren’t betting on a fair game. This is all pretty unhealthy. Riot are acting to get on top of the problem, but visibility is needed over the results to assure fans that the events are going to be fair.