Indeed, numbers are staggering and have long exceeded six-point figures in sponsorship revenues. Naturally, this has not gone unnoticed. See, by way of example: https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2018/07/11/how-big-can-esports-grow-in-2018/#225abd56a360, accessed 2 April 2019.
According to a report published in 2018 by AESVI (an acronym which translates as the Italian Association for Videogame Editors and Developers), the Italian video game trade association, approximately one million people in Italy follow Esports events multiple times per week and keep up-to-date with the news and changes occurring within the video game industry. See
‘Primo Rapporto sugli Esports in Italia. Protagonisti, tendenze, brand, sponsorship, prospettive di sviluppo’ available from the AESVI website at http://www.aesvi.it/cms/download.php?attach_pk=1496&dir_pk=902&cms_pk=2919, accessed 2 April 2019.
‘Global Esports Market Report 2019’ Newzoo (2019). A light version of the report is available from Newzoo website at https://newzoo.com/insights/trend-reports/newzoo-global-esports-market-report-2019-light-version/, accessed 11 April 2019.
The Italian Consumers Authority on 25 September 2018 and 29 November 2018 issued two decisions involving, respectively, Microsoft Corporation and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited, finding that the information that had been given to consumers in respect of the need to sign up to a paid-for subscription service (i.e., Xbox Live Gold and Sony Playstation Plus) to be able to play the online component of video games was insufficient according to Italian consumer law. See http://www.agcm.it/dotcmsCustom/tc/2023/10/getDominoAttach?urlStr=192.168.14.10:8080/C12560D000291394/0/616321EEF602622AC1258327004A460E/$File/p27366.pdf and http://www.agcm.it/dotcmsCustom/tc/2024/1/getDominoAttach?urlStr=192.168.14.10:8080/C12560D000291394/0/98A6A6A0B5D44158C1258383004087DC/$File/p27440.pdf, accessed 2 April 2019.
Article 10 of the Legislative Decree no. 203 of 7 December 2017 mandates the AGCOM to issue a regulation introducing the first State-made classification system for video games. On 11 April 2018 AGCOM issued a draft regulation and opened a public consultation on that draft. The consultation is now closed. However, no regulation has been published yet and, in the meanwhile, a ‘technical’ working group was established to further discuss the proposed new regulation.
As mentioned in the body of the article, the word ‘gambling’ is here being used loosely and merely for the purpose of giving an idea of the kind of activities that the legislator/regulator has in mind, namely skill and competition-based games for which a monetary reward is provided.
The latest version of the guidelines was updated on 11 March 2019 and is available (only) in Italian at the following link: https://www.mise.gov.it/images/stories/documenti/FAQ-ultimo-11-marzo2019.pdf, accessed 2 April 2019.
According to Article 15, para 2 of Legislative Decree no. 242/1999, national sports federations are defined as private associations endowed with legal personality which are subject to the provisions of the Italian Civil Code. Federations do not pursue a lucrative purpose and their essential function is the overall management of a given sports discipline (e.g., the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio – FIGC is the Italian federation that oversees and organizes football activities in Italy both at a professional level – e.g. via the Serie A and Serie B leagues – as well as at amateur level via the so-called Lega Nazionale Dilettanti). Federations remain subject to the (to an extent) control of the CONI, inasmuch as the abovementioned article provides that federations carry out sporting activities in compliance with the direction followed by the CONI and the balance sheets of the federation are subject to annual approval by the CONI.
However, the AGCOM, which is the Regulatory Authority responsible for enforcing the gambling ban, opened a public consultation which provided specific questions in relation to how this new piece of legislation should be interpreted with a view of issuing specific guidelines and, potentially, narrowing down the scope of the ban. The public consultation was published on 10 December 2018 and was followed by a round of interviews of the stakeholders which ended at the beginning of 2019. The text of the public consultation is available only in Italian here: https://www.agcom.it/documents/10179/12703523/Delibera+579-18-CONS/79ed8277-1ba5-4f1d-a1f0-dd6ee4c0f6d4?version=1.0., accessed 11 April 2019.
Such a regulation should include some simple, clear, realistic and nonetheless much needed rules designed to regulate the organization of competitive videogaming tournaments with a view to ensuring key interests and objectives, such as the protection of minors, the economic freedom, the intellectual property rights of the respective owners etc.
Thomas Bach, President of the IOC during the 7th Olympic Summit held in Lausanne on 8 December 2018 stated that at the summit it was agreed that the ‘Olympic Movement should continue to engage with this [Esports] community, whilst at the same time acknowledging that uncertainties remain’ and then further stated that ‘it was noted that some e-games are not compatible with the Olympic values and therefore cooperation with them is excluded’: https://www.olympic.org/news/communique-of-the-7th-olympic-summit, accessed 2 April 2019. However, it should be taken into consideration that the IOC and The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) had shown an interest in engaging with the Esports community also co-hosting the Esports Forum on 21 July 2018, with an Esports Liaison Group having been established: https://www.olympic.org/news/olympic-movement-esports-and-gaming-communities-meet-at-the-esports-forum, accessed 2 April 2019.
Further steps towards recognition of Esports have been taken in Asia where the Olympic Council of Asia accepted as its affiliate the International E-Sport Federation (IESF) and Esports are likely to be featuring as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, after participating at the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration sport (i.e., medals won in Esports did not count in the official overall medal tally).
Article 21 of the Bylaws of CONI adopted on 11 June 2014 provides that: ‘CONI recognizes national sports federations that meet the following requirements: (a) carrying out, within the national territory and at the International level, a sporting activity, including the participation in competitions and the implementation of training programmes for athletes and technicians; (b) affiliation with an international federation recognized by the IOC, if any, and management of the activity in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the rules of the international federation to which it belongs; (c) statutory and regulatory system inspired by the principle of internal democracy and participation in sporting activities by women and men on equal terms and equal opportunities, as well as in accordance with the resolutions and guidelines of the IOC and CONI; (d) electoral procedures and composition of the governing bodies in accordance with the provisions of art. 16, paragraph 2, of Legislative Decree no. 242 of 23 July 1999, and following amendments and additions […]’.
With respect to the complexity related to establishing an Esports federation, see also
A. Coni, ‘Reality is broken: videogaming as a new form of sport. The accession of Esports’ (2016) Rivista di diritto ed economia dello sport 1/2016.
In 2017 KeSPA was downgraded from ‘official member’ to ‘reserved member’ of the Korean Sports & Olympic Committee, after failing to meet the (new) requirements of the Korean Sports & Olympic Committee. See http://e-sports.or.kr/board_kespa2014.php?b_no=6&_module=data&_page=view&b_pid=9999527500&ckattempt=2, accessed 2 April 2019.
Although Esports was announced as a medal event for the 2022 Games, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced that the inclusion of competitive videogaming as a medal sport is still on hold for the 2022 Asian Games. In any event, the participation is likely to be limited to non-violent e-games. See https://www.reuters.com/article/us-games-asia-alisports/esports-move-to-less-violent-games-for-2022-asiad-alisport-ceo-idUSKCN1LI0RI, accessed 2 April 2019.
See http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2010/10/129_75165.html, accessed 11 April 2019.
However, the details of the settlement agreement reached by the parties are unknown, except for what has been made available via Internet hearsay.
In France Esports competitions are regulated by Law no. 2016-1321 of 7 October 2016, Decree n. 2017-871 of 9 May 2017 and Decree no. 2017-872 of 9 May 2017.
Briefly, such contents include details about the organizer, basic information about the competition such as the venue, the dates and games played, the registration fees, the mechanism guaranteeing the repayment of the prizes and, if applicable, the contact details of those responsible for the safety of the event.