If you needed any more convincing that eSports was a big deal, then the latest news confirming a match fixing scandal in Counter-Strike Global Offensive should do it.
The match in question took place on August 21 last year between two North American teams: iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com. The former was regarded as one of the top teams in the region, the latter not so much. In spite of the skewed skill levels, NetcodeGuides.com went on to thrash iBUYPOWER by 16-4. Being a professional match, the results won betters over $10,000 in earnings.
Suspicions of match fixing began the float around the CS community, largely because iBUYPOWER team mates were shown mucking about with their knives and laughing during the match despite being beaten by an inferior team.
A few days ago, The Daily Dot published an article that confirmed that the match had indeed been fixed. Their evidence stemmed from a whistleblower named Ashley Leboeuf, an ex-girlfriend of Derek Boorn, a team member of iBP. In a series of text messages to her while they were still together, Boorn admitted that “They intentionally lost a match this past week,” and that “I bet for them on alternate accounts.”
Initially, the text messages were dismissed by members on Reddit, where the screengrabs of the texts were initially posted, as fake. However, The Daily Dot confirmed their authenticity after determining that the texts did indeed come from a phone belonging to Boorn. “It really pains me to do something like this to someone I care about,” said Leboeuf, whose relationship with Boorn lasted eight years, “but I can’t stand that the community respects these players when they do things like this. Amateur players look up to them, and they just use that to get away with anything they want.”
When contacted, Boorn neither confirmed nor denied his role in the scandal, saying that he had “zero interest in participating in any type of revenge mission [Leboeuf] has going.” After news of his culpability spread to ESEA, a professional CS community, Boorn was terminated from his admin position there.
Ashley Leboeuf isn’t the only whistleblower in this fracas, however. Shahzeb Khan, an ex-iBP player, confirmed to The Daily Dot that he was told that the match would be fixed by Casey Foster, co-owner of NetcodeGuides:
The day of this match I had placed a bet on iBUYPOWER. I brought up the bet while talking to Casey Foster, he then voice-called me on Steam Friends and told me to change my bet. He made it very clear the match was going to be thrown. I didn’t want to get involved with any of it but I changed my bet, as I thought would be logical at the time while also sharing this information with a friend whom I assumed to have bet the same.