Gaming Paradise hit by delays as players’ passports confiscated

Another esports event has joined the growing list of dramatic industry failures

Another esports event has joined the growing list of dramatic industry failures.

Gaming Paradise was meant to take place this week, offering $50,000 for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and another $50,000 for Dota 2. Some of the world’s biggest esports organizations, including Ninjas in Pyjamas, Natus Vincere and Virtus Pro sent teams to compete. Those players and teams have now been left wondering if they’ll ever see a dime of the promised prize pool.

Concerns began to trickle down when the event, which is based in Portorož, Slovenia, was hit by delays when players discovered the competition’s computers hadn’t been outfitted with graphics cards powerful enough to properly run the games. Event organizers instructed the players to simply wait. More than 12 hours passed without any sign of resolution.

Event organizers blamed the equipment problems on a rogue driver. They claimed to have paid someone to deliver the proper equipment, but he allegedly disappeared, along with the hardware.

Things would only get worse from there. Police arrived on the scene and confiscated visiting players’ passports because event organizers hadn’t paid for their hotel rooms.

For some players on a strict schedule, this was particularly worrisome. Some who were slated to play in the Counter-Strike tournament are also scheduled to play in Dubai this weekend, which boasts a $250,000 prize pool—five times what Gaming Paradise offered.

Once the police were convinced that it was event officials who’d booked the hotel rooms, and not the teams and players themselves, the players got their passports back.

To keep the players happy and the tournament on track, organizers signed a contract guaranteeing them the promised prize money so long as they completed the scheduled matches. That seemed to be enough for the players—though fans could hardly understand why the players wanted to keep going after so many other problems. CEO Petar Markovic released a statement detailing the issues and the struggles of and The Gaming Paradise in attempting to make things right. It confirmed the loss of equipment and temporary holding of passports, and also suggested that the organizations will attempt to ensure safe and on-schedule transport for the teams needing to go to Dubai. That statement has since disappeared from the tournament’s website.

Dota 2 players won’t have the chance to compete. That tournament, which was immediately to follow to the Counter-Strike competition, has been canceled.

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