What are eSports?

Participating in eSports involves playing video games competitively. This has grown in popularity significantly in recent years. As the popularity of eSports has boomed, so has the interest in staking money on the outcome of eSports events, which are often viewed live by, or streamed to, large audiences.

Could participating in an eSports event for a prize be “gaming”?

For those participating in events, this could be “gaming” under the Gambling Act 2005, as playing could involve “playing a game of chance for a prize”. eSports have not been designated a “sport” by the Secretary of State. However, the Gambling Commission has indicated that in its view, eSports are on the whole games of skill, with very little chance involved. In its view, the majority of professional eSports events do not fall into the definition of “gaming” and are therefore unregulated.

Is betting on eSports regulated?

Offering facilities to place bets on eSports events is no different from any other sport. This is regulated and a licence is required.

What about wagering money on yourself to win an eSports contest?

Some people argue that placing a bet on yourself is not betting. However, the Gambling Commission disagrees with this. If an individual stakes money on themselves to win a contest, the Commission considers this to be a bet. There are also betting integrity issues to consider in this situation.

What about under 18s?

Many eSports participants and fans are under 18 and this presents problems for licensed betting operators, as it is an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 to “invite” a person under 18 to gamble. Under 18s may participate in eSports events, but they must not gamble on themselves or others.

How do I find out more about eSports gambling legislation?

The laws around eSports gambling are complex with many pitfalls. You should always obtain detailed legal advice about your specific situation before proceeding. If you require further advice please contact Richard Williams using the below details.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.