Philippines Lawmaker Proposes October as Esports Month

Posted on: September 5, 2022, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2022, 06:03h.

A legislator in the Philippines wants to give Esports more recognition. He has authored a new bill, House Bill 01285, which aims to make October National Esports Month.

World Esports Championship
Players and spectators gather for the World Esports Championship. A lawmaker in the Philippines hopes to find approval for a bill that would designate October National Esports Month. (Image: Bullfrag)

There is already a World Esports Day, celebrated on October 23. However, Representative Christopher de Venecia wants the entire month to be about the ecosystem instead of just a single day.

Should the legislation advance, it would facilitate the collaboration of different government entities, such as the Philippine Information Agency and the National Academy of Sports, with the private sector. Among the goals would be creating and distributing information related to eSports events and competitions. They would also focus on education about the activity.

The Philippines has its own Esports governing body, the Philippine Esports Organization. It would lead in facilitating the collaboration while continuing to shape the industry.

Paving the Way for Athletes

de Venecia asserts that many don’t consider eSports athletes legitimate professionals. That’s because they see video games as a vice, distraction, or form of gambling. But de Venecia says esports is a legitimate sport and a creative industry. He compares it to dancesport, competitive ballroom dancing. It is both a sport and performing art that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognizes as a sport.

While dancesport has yet to appear in any Olympic competition, its recognition by the IOC is a significant first step. For years, eSports players and supporters have also fought to have competitions included in the Olympics.

de Venecia said Filipino eSports teams sometimes struggle to participate in international tournaments. On many occasions, players face rejection of their travel documents and visas. This is because they are not recognized as legitimate representatives of the Philippines in eSports.

One of the country’s Esports teams for Valorant had to withdraw last year from a tournament in Berlin, Germany. This followed the rejection of a travel request, even though the team members qualified for the tournament.

As a result, industry insiders hope to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs to improve the treatment of eSports athletes when competing in international tournaments. In addition, they also intend to meet with the Department of Labor and Employment to develop a more efficient counter-attack that will protect the team’s owners and the players themselves.

Cashing In

Only 13 US states have taken action specifically on Esports sports betting, according to National Law Review. All but Nevada did so following the US Supreme Court’s demise of The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in 2018.

Sports betting analysts predict the industry will be worth as much as $2 billion in global revenue this year. Within eight years, though, that could reach $12.5 billion, according to Research and Markets. That would reflect a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.9%. In addition, sponsorships could see a CAGR of 40% and media rights could add 23%.