The FBI is investigating esports cheating

The FBI is investigating esports cheating

The United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is apparently looking into cheating in the esports scene.

Speaking to slash32 on YouTube, the commissioner of the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) Ian Smith said that it had been working with the FBI as part of an investigation into match fixing in North America.

Apparently there are two elements to the investigation; the first is a variety of "corroborating evidence" from chat platform Discord, including chat logs, screenshots and other recordings, presumably of people cheating. This seems to relate to a betting scandal in Australia.

The second is a small group of players in the ESEA's MBL North America division who are engaged in organised match fixing.

The FBI is helping out with the latter, with feds from the organisation's recently set up sports betting unit looking into the matter. As a result, it's been a quite slow process.

"In North America it's much more serious. [It's] what I would describe as classic match fixing. In other words, it's players being bribed by outside betting syndicates in order to fix matches, rather than players doing it off their own backs," Smith explained.

"It's been going on for longer, it's much more organised. To some extent, we're working with law enforcement, with the FBI, who only recently have had a sports betting investigative unit within the FBI. So they're good, but they're inexperienced because sports betting has never been a big thing in America until recently. Everybody's kind of finding their feet on that one."

In a statement to PCGamer, ESIC said that it had been working with law enforcement around the world for some time.

"We have strong connections with law enforcement internationally. We frequently work with agencies like the FBI, Interpol, Australian Federal Police (or VicPol, NSWPol, etc.)," a spokesperson said.

"Our collaboration with the FBI is not new, but something we've always been doing. It just hasn't been the subject of attention before."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.