League of Legend’s 2019 Mid-Season Invitational has just begun and there’s already a lot of controversy bubbling beneath the surface.
Garena Taiwan, a digital entertainment platform, has been caught using an esports betting site. When Garena started its MSI stream early, viewers caught a glimpse of the betting site open on a computer browser that was being shared on the live stream. It was clear to viewers that Garena were already logged into a betting site and had placed a few bets on the upcoming matches.
Esports fans in the Twitch chat began to call Garena out. This led the company to abruptly end the broadcast and delete all VODs and clips from the company’s Twitch channel. But many Taiwanese League fans were quick to save their own versions of the video. In the clip below, the betting site can be seen at 10:08:
Captured this morning, the video already has over 7,000 views. According to many Reddit users, the Taiwanese gaming community is “extremely mad” at Garena for its actions.
But what is the actual issue here?
Garena is the official distributor of League of Legends in some other countries, including Taiwan. This means the company is Riot’s official partner, representing Riot in many aspects internationally. Since Garena is an event sponsor, it’s possible that the company could have insider knowledge, or more nefariously, could even have made deals with teams beforehand to affect the outcome of a match.
Even if Garena did not go to such lengths to affect any of the matches played, many Taiwanese fans seem very disappointed in the company. It’s possible that Garena was not even aware of the betting, as it was a shared screen from an individual’s computer. But, much like traditional sports, employees involved with the production or broadcast are discouraged from betting on the event.
For now, it’s unclear if the employee in question, or Garena as a whole, will face any backlash or formal punishment for what transpired. But Reddit users have made it very clear that the majority of esports fans are quite upset about the potential implications.