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The French government is proposing a bill which will encourage the growth of the sector by disassociating eSports events and players from gambling activities.

France.- The French government proposes new legislation to support the growth of the eSports sector in France. The bill recognises eSports events and players and disassociated them from the gambling industry. In addition, “The Digital Republic Bill” will also extend the definition of athletes to include players, allowing eSports professionals to partake and contribute to government pensions.

Under current French legislation, eSports events are classified as gambling events, which are illegal in France and tournament organisers must pass through many bureaucratic processes if they want to set up high-profile gaming events in the country. The French government has repeatedly refused to acknowledge eSports as sporting events. Last December, the French Ministry of Sport refused to consider professional gaming as sports, although he praised the growth of the industry.

If this legislation is approved eSports will be no longer associated with illegal gambling and the rights of organisations and players will be recognised.  The bill would use a partnership-based approach to help government interface with organisers, gamers and public institutions with the aim of structuring the the eSports industry in France.  In addition, eSports players will be able to pay their fair share of taxes, which will be channelled towards their pension plans as they will also be recognised as athletes, with certain concessions given the specifics of their profession.

The French government has clearly realised about the potential of the sector. A report by Newzoo states that the eSports audience is growing by double-digit rates year-over-year, mostly due to big ticket events played on stadiums. Other European countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Poland have attracted multiple tournaments over the past few years and benefitted from them.

Source: New legislation will recognise eSports in France – Focus GN