Recently, responsible gambling experts have expressed concerns about the eSports industry, and how gambling has become increasingly prevalent. This has led to further concerns about underage gambling among eSports spectators – and, SA lawmakers are taking preventative measures to discourage young people from wanting to wager on eSports events.
The South Australian government has recently proposed a ban on eSports betting across the state. This would mean that residents would not be able to wager on League of Legends, DoTA or Starcraft tournaments with locally-licensed operators. The main goal is to disassociate gambling from a sports industry that has many young fans.
“Children are particularly vulnerable to the attraction of gambling on sporting contests conducted on the platform of video games,” says John Rau, Consumer and Business Affairs Minister. “The Government is determined to keep our children cyber-safe. We do not want them to be introduced to gambling under the guise of a game.”
In fact, some Australian politicians believe that eSports should be classified as gambling on their own. As the controversy surrounding skin betting in the Counter Strike: Global Offensive community, Nick Xenophon argues that eSports inherently encourage young people to gambling. However, eSports in and of themselves have not yet been banned in any states.
There is still little research that proves eSports betting is dangerous. However, we’re sure that it carries the same risk as betting on football and rugby. While the law has already been passed, it is important for lawmakers to look into this issue further in order to determine whether or not it is necessary to ban betting altogether, or if there is a more effective measure to discourage young people from gambling.