Riot Korea, a subsidiary of Riot Games, has banned a number of accounts and introduced measures to combat illegal esports gambling websites linked to wintrading and griefing of LCK players.
Wintrading Targeted in New Riot Games Sweep in Korea
Riot Games’ Korean subsidiary is stepping up its efforts to combat illegal gambling in its flagship game, League of Legends, following a controversy surrounding illegal esports betting sites that have been offering markets on professional players’ solo queues.
The measure is part of a broader campaign against griefing and wintrading and a pivot of Riot’s culture against abuse of any sort.
The issue with wintrading was identified recently, leading to the suspension of overseas accounts on December 8 and Riot Korea setting up a hotline on December 9, encouraging teams to step up and post tips on any players who may have been wintrading for illegal gambling websites.
Earlier today, Riot Korea said that it is rolling out a new software upgrade to deter use of prohibited third-party software, adding:
“Wintrading and illegal gambling on solo queue matches are unacceptable in any circumstances. We’ll make sure to do all we can to prevent such actions.”-Riot Korea
Wintrading, Griefing and a Chinese Link
In an official statement, Riot Korea said that it has identified a number of illegal Chinese esports gambling websites that have tried to influence the outcome of LCK professional players’ games and in doing so, they have used Korean accounts illegally.
Riot stepped up its efforts in identifying 10,000 accounts with a similar MMR as professional players and pinned down those showing suspicious activity by illegally playing from overseas, suspending them right away.
The company is also suspending the use of special third-party software that makes it easier for high-ping players to reduce latency. High-ping is the result of using VPN to join Korean servers illegally, and now the third-party programs used to cushion this ping will be targeted by Riot.
Last but not least, a special hotline has been set up to allow anyone who suspects players trying to win trade, to be reported. Riot Korea welcomes any reports on suspicious activity that merits a closer investigation.
This hotline will focus exclusively on wintrading whereas other issues such as verbal abuse and behavioral actions will have to be reported through the established gaming channels.
Clamping Down on Illegal Gambling
Illegal gambling has been taken very seriously by developers worldwide, especially after Valve, the developer of CS: GO, faced a class-action lawsuit for allegedly facilitating underage gambling with “skins,” for not suspending third-party websites the company didn’t own nor had any interaction with.
Valve continued to face lawsuits in the years after from overzealous parties who continued to shift the blame on the developer. However, these difficulties have set a precedent that neither Riot nor other big game publishers are willing to face on a repeated basis.
Cracking down on this wintrading circle is a first for Riot, which has been focusing heavily on eradicating abuse and the use of third-party software for the purposes of cheating.