Chinese LoL Esports Betting Affects Pros in Korea During Solo Queue
Illegal betting is not new by a long shot. It’s a plague on Chinese esports, creating more match-fixing than ought to be around. However, the reach of these betting sites has expanded to something very disturbing, as Chinese esports sites that focus on LoL have started moving into Korea. That’s not the scary part, though. Now, people can make bets on famous gamers and streamers solo-queue games in League of Legends. You can imagine what this means; it’s very easy to fix a match like this.
Match-fixing is one of the biggest problems in esports right now. To see it showing up in solo-queue matches is sincerely disappointing.
Solo-Queue Is Already Hard
How? You have to be in the tier that the pro player is streaming in. If you’re on their team, you can easily bet on the other squad, throw the game, and make some easy money. Inven Global, who brought this to life, points out that one of Korea’s biggest stars has their Lol matches on these Chinese esports betting sites. That’s right, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok of T1 fame.
Riot Korea is aware that this kind of match-fixing is going down. “We’re aware of the match-fixing from some foreign users that are in relation with these Chinese illegal betting sites, and the act of tampering with the outcome of solo queue matches are unacceptable, especially those of LCK pro players. Ever since we became aware of this issue, we’re actively cooperating with the LPL to not promote these websites on their platform, with the ultimate goal of shutting all these illegal gambling sites down.”
Inven Global had access to an insider in China who helped them gain access to these illegal betting sites among the Chinese sites, to see the stars of Korea that were also suffering. The Korean pros are, of course, not the only victims here. Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-bo have their matches used for this illegal gambling.
People on these sites can also watch the matches right there. It suddenly becomes pretty easy to see what’s going on and bet accordingly. It’s harder to match-fix something in the pro scene, like the LCS. Only the actual player in question can decide to throw a game. When you consider the pro-solo-queue climb, there are thousands, maybe millions (depending on where the player is on the ladder) that can show up in these matches.
If these regular players see the match is on one of the illegal betting sites, it becomes very easy to have a bad game and make some money simultaneously. You also have to consider how many Chinese players are on the Korean servers. They have to buy an account to play on, thanks to all Korean server accounts requiring a resident registration number (RNN). Players that come from the Chinese servers are more likely to know about the betting sites to use.
A player with a great deal of skill and a lack of morals can throw the odd game and potentially make very serious money. The downside is that the Chinese government, for their control over their nation, can’t do a lot to stop this. The websites operate outside of China, so the government can’t do very much to stop them from operating. Riot Korea has discussed this match-fixing.
What is Riot Korea going to do about it? They have said this much at least: “As one of the short-term measures to the ongoing battle against these illegal websites, Riot Korea will implement the creation of a hotline for LCK pro players, where they can easily get in contact with Riot, should they run into users that are suspicious of intentional match-fixing. We’re actively discussing various long-term solutions, so we’ll provide an update as soon as some of those solutions are ready.”
There are no long-term solutions yet, but we can imagine this is a high priority. Match-fixing ruins matches for everyone involved, but the player making money off of them. As a long-time player of League of Legends, I’ve seen many matches where a player throws things for no reason. It is intentional and not just a bad player. It’s not too hard to see the difference. But when people are also doing it for financial gain, and not just being a jerk? That’s a whole other matter. We hope this gets resolved sooner rather than later.