A player on the best team in the world, who is on the verge of cementing their own era, bought a gun that settled a bet.
Here's why that's a huge problem.
Image: BLAST Premier
According to a post on Medium, a NAVI fan placed a very specific bet: He waged roughly $20 that one of the Na'Vi players would buy the M249 during IEM Katowice.
This all would have been fine, even though it is a bit weird that people can place bets on such specific events.
But during NAVI's series against Furia, something strange happened: Ilya "Perfecto" Zalutskiy actually bought an M249. He immediately dropped it in CT-spawn and non of his teammates picked it up.
The gun wasn't used and disappeared from the map after one round.
Why a player influencing a bet is a big deal
Image: Getty Images / Joe Brady
While Perfecto's actions had close to no impact on the result of the match, it raises an important question: did he break competitive integrity?
Perfecto did not place a bet himself, nor did he purposely influence the result of a game. But if he was aware of the bet, and purposefully bought the gun to influence the result of that bet, he's in big trouble.
As soon as Perfecto would have heard about the bet, the result would have been rigged. Since the post on Twitter got quite some traction, and the official NAVI account even joked about the gun in a post, this seems very likely.
And while it isn't on the same level as match-fixing, it gives an opportunity to ask "if he would rig this bet, what more would he do?"
And thus his competitive integrity could be placed into question.
What will happen to Perfecto
There is no obvious precedent in esports for a case like this, but the Esports Integrity Commission will have to make a ruling.
Looking at the world of traditional sports, we can see an indication of the type of punishment could be facing.
In 2017, a football player heard about a bet being placed on him eating a pie during a game. He did so and later admitted to being aware of the bet.
The player was fined and received a two-month suspension. He subsequently resigned from his position at his club.
Whether Perfecto will face any similar punishment is hard to tell. It all depends on what ESIC has communicated to players in their rule of conduct, and if it ever can be proven that Perfecto was aware of the bet.
Worst case scenario, NAVI could see their era halted due to a suspension over buying an M249.
This would be fitting looking at CS:GO's track record with betting scandals.