Earlier this season we became suspicious of a team's behavior during matches, but lacked any evidence to suggest the users were acting in a malicious manner. ESEA, during the playoffs, was reached out to by an esports bookmaker, GG.BET, in regards to irregularities in bets placed.
In August the information provided indicated that longstanding MDL players Loic “effys” Sauvageau and Victor “cardiac” Kwan both had family members placing bets against their own team in their matches in the MDL division. Based on the information that was provided, and after a careful investigation by ESEA Staff, we have come to the conclusion that the players were placing bets on their own matches and using their family members information to bypass fraud filters, or they were posting bets on behalf of their family members.
After correlating the information we received with our own, we have established a clear timeline of events that transpired. We have found that:
Bettor #1, a relative of Savageau, had been placing bets from the same residential IP as Savageau was playing his matches from
At the time of bettor #1 placing bets, bettor #2, a relative of Kwan, would then mirror the bet placed by bettor #1
Bettors #1 and #2 also only placed bets in this specific market (MDL matches)
This information clearly suggests that the bettor #1, a family member, was placing bets on behalf of Sauvageau or Sauvageau was logging in directly and placing the bets himself. It also shows that Kwan was taking the same actions, once again attempting to avoid the fraud filters.
As a result of the investigation, ESEA is placing a year ban on “effys” and “cardiac” for a Gambling Violation. The team's roster has also been removed from the MDL division. At this time we do not have conclusive evidence to suggest that the entire team was involved and as a result, the other players on the roster have not been banned. The team’s slot in the MDL division will be made available via the relegation tournament to those teams who were negatively affected by their actions. Their team will not be eligible to compete in the relegation tournament or placement tournaments this season. In addition to our findings, we have also provided ESIC all of the evidence and information concluded from our investigation and are open to adjusting the ban length per their recommendation.
We have also found that the caster Roy “Stronglegs” Andul-Ahad placed multiple bets on MDL matches within seconds of Savageau's “family member”, as well as placing a bet on another match the team lost. Two other matches were also bet on at a later time, at significantly lower stakes (roughly 3% of the suspect bets). Although he was not directly involved in the match. ESEA will cease all existing partnerships with him as this is a conflict of interest. By being an official caster of the League he has access to administrators, systems, processes and other inside information which would impact his bet choice. Valve set a clear standard by recommending that all event production staff do not bet on matches: http://blog.counter-strike.net/index.php/unnecessary_risks/. A ban has also been placed on his account for a Gambling Violation.
We would like to thank GG.BET and their staff for their prompt assistance in this case and providing us with information in order to allow us to complete our investigation. We hope that others will follow their example and have a clear, open dialog with tournament organisers in order to combat the threat of match fixing.