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Cheating when playing? Something as old as the hills. But today, cheating is no longer just a whim of gamers who do not like to lose. If you are looking for an edge in your gaming, there are better ways. You can take advantage of a Ladbrokes Casino Bonus, for example, and be perfectly satisfied with that. The guys who are out to resort to cheating heavily belong to another universe because the shocking truth is that cheating is big business.

Believe it or not, the revenue of the organization tracked down by the Chinese police was about $76 million. The police seized assets worth $46 million, part of which was a series of luxury cars. The operation was carried out in cooperation with Tencent, the Chinese gaming giant which has long insisted that cheaters ruin the gaming experience for all participants in the industry. A 2019 survey found that at least a third of gamers use cheats to improve their online performance. Since gaming has become a professional activity and players have the opportunity to win millions in tournaments around the world, hackers have raised their stakes too.

Creating and selling cheats has turned into a lucrative business. Teenagers have been found among the growing market players, often perfectly capable of earning humungous sums of money by turning their programming skills over to the dark side. The BBC published a story about cyber-security reporter Joe Tidy, who managed to make contact with a 17-year old hacker by playing a game with him. Tidy was shocked to learn how this kid was running a successful underground business worth several thousand dollars a month.

The business discovered by the Chinese police was not a cottage industry, despite the silly name “Chicken Drumstick.” What they found was a serious criminal multinational with a website selling to “hundreds of countries and regions,” as reported by local media. The operation was based on subscriptions, with users paying from around $10 a day up to $200 a month. Subscribers got access to cheats to games like Overwatch and Call of Duty Mobile. The police declared they destroyed 17 cheats and arrested 10 people during the raid in Kunshan, a city near Shanghai.

At the end of January, a popular UK-based player quit Warzone, furious at the game being “saturated with hackers.”  Vikram Singh Barn, alias Vikkstar, explained the reasons for his decision to more than seven million of his YouTube subscribers. He did so in a video, commenting: “The fact players can live stream themselves blatantly hacking with zero repercussions blows my mind. This guy is 2nd prestige & broadcasts hours of himself hacking. This NEEDS to be addressed and fixed.” Vikkstar lays part of the blame on Activision, Warcraft’s publisher: “The game is in the worst state it’s ever been. Activision really isn’t addressing how many hackers are in the game.”

A few months earlier, the company had declared on its blog that: “Warzone has zero-tolerance for cheaters.” Activision claims that it has issued more than 70,000 permanent bans on accounts since the game’s release.