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Pokemon LAIC Enrages TCG Community With Concerning Prizing Process

The competitive Pokémon community is enraged with the Latin America International Championship after a troubling problem with prize money came to light.

On Twitter, Pokémon coach Joseph Ugarte shared an important PSA regarding prize money earned at LAIC. According to Ugarte, local and international players that placed in the top 32 and earned prize money have to scan a QR code and fill out a survey within five days of the competition. He apparently snapped a photo of the QR code at the competition.

In response, the Pokémon community has taken to social media

While the QR code was shown to players by official staff at the LAIC, it was news to the majority of Pokémon trainers. Many questioned why there wasn’t a public announcement about the code and voiced some concerns with privacy when putting your bank information in an online survey.

Said one player: “So you're saying, that if I would win the IC and did not know about this QR for some reason, and not reply within five days, Copag keeps all the money? I would assume they sent a reminder (to each competitor that won money) by mail as well?”

Another issue also arose once top players started filling out the form. A few players tweeted that they didn’t receive a confirmation email after filling it out, making them wonder if they filled it out correctly since the form was partially in a foreign language. These players are left to just wait and see if they receive the money.

Some Pokémon players noted that the five-day threat was most likely not real. They said it would most likely be illegal to withhold the prize money.

Still, the process of getting the prize money didn't sit well with top players at all. Many voiced concern with the unprofessional process, including the lack of widespread information about the QR code after the event, putting bank information in a form, and the five-day forfeit message. 

Said competitive player Jake Gearhart: “This is insane. I invite everyone to share this with anyone who earned prize money at LAIC to make sure they get what they're owed, and to ensure Copag or whoever else doesn't get to keep a cent of it.” 

This situation with the QR code prize payout is apparently not the first time that Copag has been under scrutiny for prize pool issues. Many Pokemon players have come forward since the images of the QR code have been shared to accuse Copag of having not paid them their owed prize money from last year's LAIC. This includes all levels of play, with some parents demanding money for their children who placed in Juniors as well as Masters players speculating that Copag is scamming them. So far, Copag has not responded to any of the accusations but the community is starting to demand that the LAIC be canceled - or at least be hosted by another tournament organizer.

Esports Illustrated has reached out to the organizers for comment