As the competitive gaming industry grows larger every day and draws closer to the success of the traditional sports industry, some nations have started paying more attention.
Problems with legality and professionalism
Having a set and legally accepted framework recognized by authorities helps with a lot of different issues.
It gives jobs like “professional gamer” more stability and safety. It helps with travel arrangements connected to obtaining visas.
Ultimately, it helps esports be officially recognized as a legitimate industry.
Removing logistical barriers can help the industry flourish further; if something needs to be done or something goes wrong, there’s a legal framework that can be used for reference.
France makes esports legal
France has recently adopted a new version of an existing law that gives a frame to pro gamers’ contracts and differentiating esports from esports gambling.
The so-called Numeric Law governs a wide body of digital matters and also includes many regulations on esports, such as contract establishment, visa status, and esports distribution.
By adopting the last version of the law in late September, the French government effectively made esports legal in the country.
Article 42 in the law is where esports rules are covered. The section gives esports a legal status by differentiating video game competitions from gambling in the Code of Homeland Security.
It defines esports as “competition on a video game, of at least two players or teams of players for a score or a victory.”
The law also introduces some regulation in the industry. These include setting an entry-fee-to-prize ratio, differentiating between online and live tournaments, and introducing mechanisms that ensure payment of cash prizes.
It even covers the rights of minors, requiring parental authorization for children under the age of 16.
By providing a framework for professional player contracts, the new French law should help players with visa issues. Because tourist visas are invalid and illegal for the practice of professional gaming, French pro players have had problems in this area.
Providing more transparency to immigration authorities with a proper legal framework on contracts should help streamline such processes.
Even though things are moving ahead in France, developments such as the Ministry of Sports refusing to take esports under its banner are slowing things down. As a response, an esports lobbying group called France Esports has emerged to continue that push.
Spain’s Federation of Video Games and Esports
Spain is also active in recognizing the importance of esports.
Recently, the Spanish Institute of Youth (INJUVE) and the National Association for the Promotion of Digital Entertainment (ANFED), entered into a collaboration to create the Spanish Federation of Video Games and Esports.
Its main purpose is to unite the sectors of video games and esports, unify all the representatives, and support the involved parties.
The initiative of INJUVE, an organization that aims to promote actions for the benefit of young people, and ANFED, a non-profit for all parties interested in the field of electronic entertainment and video games, will surely benefit esports nationally and internationally.
New esports policy initiative in Australia
Earlier this month, the Athlete’s Committee for Australian Esports was launched by the Australian Esports Association. It should give competitive gaming more structure by developing an appropriate framework and accompanying policies.
“Here, [esports] is young, so we’re not seeing the same level, and everyone’s just chasing the prize money,” said Darren Kwan, the association’s president. “Overseas, they’re on salaries, they’ve got endorsements, personal sponsorships and so on.”
With the right competitive structure, the association hopes that a league could spread the wealth between players and enforce rules.
“We want people to support their Oceania Pro League club the same way they support an AFL club or a rugby league,” Kwan said. “Part of that is making sure all the teams have an equal opportunity to win.”
A proper esports framework and rulebook would be a great starting point for the growth of the national industry.
São Paulo introduces a bill aimed to regulate esports
As recently reported by The Esports Observer, the Brazilian municipality São Paulo is currently working on passing a bill that would give esports professionals an “athlete” status.
PL 1512/2015 has already approved by the Committee on Sports Affairs. For it to become effective, it needs to pass the finance, budget, and planning committee of the Legislative Assembly.
Even though it’s not certain whether the initiative will be successful this time, it’s a step in the right direction.
“The State of São Paulo will give the opportunity for athletes to have legislation, just like other types of sports,” said Alexandre Pereira, author of the bill.
Additionally, another bill to recognize esports as a national sport is being processed in Brazil. Once it’s approved in the Senate and sanctioned by the president, it could become law, and esports would be a step closer to traditional sports in Brazil.