Two Australian men have been arrested by police and charged in connection with an investigation by Victoria police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit into “suspicious betting activity” surrounding a Chinese League of Legends esports league.
The arrests relate to alleged match-fixing in LPL matches in June 2021, with police believing a number of matches could have been affected by players “arranging to throw matches”.
The two men have been arrested on separate charges following communication between police and a betting agency.
League of Legends Esports: Men Arrested for “Suspicious Betting Activity”
One of the men has been charged with “use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes”, while the other is charged with “engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of event or event contingency”.
The pair will face these charges, both of which can lead to up to ten years imprisonment, in front of Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on September 26.
“The Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit has previously investigated suspicious activity linked to esports betting and it remains an area of focus for us.”, said Detective Acting Superintendent Wayne Woltsche of the State Intelligence Division in the press release about the arrests.
He also added: “We’ve developed strong relationships with a number of esports stakeholders and betting agencies, and we’ll continue to work together to target any suspicious activity.”
Woltsche also confirmed that, as an “emerging sporting industry”, esports is seemingly gaining more attention from “those willing to try and take advantage of the systems for their own gain”.
These arrests mark a continuation of recent match-fixing controversies surrounding China’s LPL in particular, with professional player Chen ‘Jay’ Bo, formerly of LGD Gaming, having received a lifetime ban from all Riot Games and Tencent competitions following an investigation in early April.
This preceded a larger investigation of both the LPL and LDL leagues, which led to 38 players and coaches receiving bans of varying lengths.