Legal Issues in Esports: The Art of War for the Modern Age

Esports or competitive video gaming, have risen from a pastime interest to a worldwide economy. Esports is growing with millions of fans, professional teams, and tremendous amounts of investment. That said, such growth has come with several legal issues that apply to the players, teams, and organizers. It is fundamental for any players, team owners, coaches, organizing bodies, and investors to grasp these facts. In this article, the various legal questions affecting esports have been explained in basic concepts that are easily understood.

intellectual Property Rights


The first of the legal issues when it comes to esports is IP rights without any doubt. Esports are built based on video games and these games are products that can be protected under copyright legislation. Games belong to their creators; these are the persons who have exclusive rights over the games’ characters, locations, and even moves or actions. This ownership made esports tournaments, streaming platforms, and content creators need permission from the creators of the games.


  1. Tournaments and Broadcasts: Video game developers require a license to conduct the tournaments. Failing to acquire these licenses puts them in danger of facing legal consequences for violating the set IPs. Also, holding these tournaments on platforms like Twitch or YouTube must also be subjected to legal approval to prevent legal complications.


  1. Content Creation: Those who produce streams and videos about video games, which include YouTubers, need to know the laws concerning copyrights. Regulations specifying how a game should be used in a video are present in many game development studios. If these guidelines are not followed, videos may get removed or channels may get put into the demonetized category.


Contracts and Player Rights


A contract holds the most significant role in professional esports as it sets the relationship between players, teams, and sponsors. But like any other business, the sport has also experienced some contract frustrations and controversy.


  1. Player Contracts: It is common for a player to get into an agreement with a team where he /she is given remuneration, conditions of work, and performance. However, some have been perceived as somehow parasitic with some features like long durations, low remunerations, and the way they regulate the player’s private lives. Players need to appreciate their agreements and possibly consult a lawyer if they must.


  1. Free Agency and Transfers: In parity with conventional sporting activities, the transfer of the players in the gaming industry can be implicit. Conflicts occur when clubs and players bargain salaries, assume new contracts, and bargain amendment terms of not playing for rivals within a certain period or buying the player at a particular price. It is therefore very important, that these transfers are carefully worked out and – most importantly – are fair to all the parties of a program involved to prevent a lot of conflicts from occurring.


  1. Sponsorship Deals: Sponsorship arrangements are normally put in place to acquire funds and it is not uncommon to see teams and players have sponsorship deals. Any deals made in this particular respect must be so done in a manner that will ensure that each of the two parties does not lose out. Sponsors may have special demands regarding the exclusivity of their sponsorship or the kind of promotions that may be carried out and any disagreement on this matter may lead to legal suits.


Anti-Cheating Measures


Computer cheating is a major problem in the field of esports that negatively impacts the credibility of competitions. This is why people have to use legal tools to fight cheating and uphold the principles of fair play.


  1. Game Developers’ Role: Anti-cheat software is used and measures are taken to avoid cheating in the game. Players who violate these rules, also have the authority to ban them. But this comes with the problem of false positives, and inconsistent enforcement that can make accused players sue the system.


  1. Tournament Regulations: They set up their rules and regulations on how they are going to eradicate the vice within the tournaments they are organizing. More often than not, these regulations bar students culprits from tests or exams and different fines as a punishment for their actions. There can be legal issues as players can think that they have been unfairly punished.


Betting and Gambling


Live betting is not a new thing in the current generations, and its application in betting esports matches is prevalent; however, it raises legal questions. Currently, esports betting is legal in most countries; however, its legal status adds some level of complexity to both operators and players.


  1. Regulated Markets: Esports betting is legal in some parts of the world and has some formalities that may need the operators to obtain licenses. Thus, these regulations guarantee the consumers’ fair play and guarantee chances for fair completion. However, it is not simple to obtain the right license for it and the cost that is involved could be very steep.


  1. Underage Gambling: Today the question of protecting children from gambling concerns is one of the most urgent ones. Esports have a large consumer base that comprises youths, while underage gambling entails the application of measures to ensure that consumers aged below 18 years are locked out.


  1. Match-Fixing: Putting money on rigging into a match by the players in order to help the bettors is especially wrong and has no place in esports. Measures that legally can be taken are required to carry out investigations and excommunication of persons involved in match-fixing scams.


Player Health and Well-being


The challenges of professional e-sports might adversely affect the gamers’ health; thus, legal and ethical issues arise.


  1. Work Hours and Conditions: The long hours employed in practice sessions result in physical and or/mental health complications among the players. One of the conditions that should be incorporated in the contracts is that working hours are reasonable and players get adequate time for proper health checks.


  1. Mental Health Support: It generates stress and, at a certain point, even boredom by constantly expecting high performance. It is high time to initiate the corresponding mental health programs and guarantees for the players’ mental health.


  1. Injury Prevention: The game-related exertive disorders, so-called repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), occur frequently among esports players. From the case, teams should invest in training programs and erogenous policies to avoid duck-related injuries and safeguard players’ future health.




The esports industry currently has an extensive growth rate and opens up new prospects and legal questions. Realizing such legal matters is crucial to sustain the development of the industry needed for reaching the shared objectives. That is why by analyzing the rights of Intellectual property, balancing the contracts, fighting against cheating, regulating betting, and creating a healthy environment for the players the whole Esports community maintains a fair, safe, and prosperous possible environment for all the participants.