The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has issued 12-month bans for seven CSGO players after a joint investigation with ESEA discovered multiple breaches of ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Code in Mountain Dew League (MDL) Australia.
ESIC confirmed in an official statement on Sep. 3 they had been investigating an issue that had been present in the professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene for “approximately 18 months.”
The esports watchdog revealed there were investigations being carried out on as many as 15 individuals involved in the Mountain Dew League. These potential breaches were of “significant concern to the industry,” ESIC stated at the time.
The 18-month investigation has resulted in ESIC confirming 12-month competitive bans from Counter-Strike for seven Australian players. They have also confirmed that other investigations into matchfixing in both North America and Australia are still ongoing.
In their report, ESIC confirmed that “as a result of the joint investigation between ESIC and ESEA, ESIC has discovered that seven current CSGO professionals playing in MDL Australia placed bets on MDL matches during their participation in the MDL.”
“Some of these individuals engaged in betting activity related to matches they were playing in themselves,” the newly-released Oct. 23 report continues.
“Further to this, ESIC has identified several associates of the offending parties also participated in betting activities related to the matches being played. In some instances, the associates placing bets mirrored identical bets to those placed by the Offending Parties.”
ESIC match-betting investigation results
The banned players come from three organisations currently competing in the Australian Mountain Dew League, and four CSGO lineups. These include one player from Ground Zero Gaming, one from LAKERS (formerly Team Skyfire), and five from Rooster.
Two players are currently listed in Rooster’s first roster, while three more are involved in the group’s second roster. These include Corey “nettik” Browne and Akram “ADK” Smida.
The seven banned CSGO players were in breach with Article 2.2 of ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Code, as well as ESEA’s standing MDL tournament rules.
ESIC and ESEA have sanctioned all involved CSGO players with twelve-month bans from all competitive CS:GO tournaments and events organised or promoted by ESIC members. This includes ESEA, ESL, DreamHack, WePlay, BLAST, and more.
Full list of banned CSGO players
- Stephen “sjanastasi” Anastasi (LAKERS) [now playing as “stvn”]
- Akram “akram” Smida (Rooster) [now playing as “ADK”]
- Daryl “Mayker” May (Ground Zero)
- Corey “netik” Browne (Rooster) [sometimes spelt “nettik”]
- Damian “JD/The Real Goat” Simonovic (Rooster 2)
- Carlos “Rackem” Jefferys (Rooster 2)
- Joshua “jhd” Hough-Devine (Rooster 2)
ESIC has already issued all seven players with notice of charge, which details the offence, ban applied, and appeal mechanisms available to them. All those impacted are now eligible to appeal their charges by emailing Kevin Carpenter, chairman of the Independent Disciplinary Panel.
Due to the nature of these offences, ESIC has also referred the matter to law enforcement. This referral is related to breaching criminal codes in Australia.
Further ESIC updates to come on MDL matchfixing
Despite the announcement, the overall investigation into systemic matchfixing is still ongoing. The esports watchdog has flagged additional breaches of the Anti-Corruption Code that are expected to be resolved in “further updates,” which will address match-fixing allegations.
“ESIC is in the process of investigating additional breaches… within the MDL in both Australia and North America,” they wrote. “As these investigations relate to other behaviours, such as match-fixing, they have been significantly more complex.”
For a full breakdown of ESIC’s investigation, details of specific matches where the bug was used, and an explanation of the sanctions, read the full report here.
ESIC concluded their report with a message to the wider CS:GO community:
“It is crucially important that professional players abstain from placing bets on the game in which they earn an income from in order to preserve the integrity of the esports landscape internationally and mitigate the potential for bad actors to take advantage of our sport.”
These new bans from ESIC come just six weeks after the esports watchdog handed down over 40 extended bans for CSGO coaches. Those bans were related to the exploit of a CSGO spectator bug which Valve reportedly patched on Sep. 2.