Finland First to Recognize Pro eSports Players as Athletes

August 15th, 2017


Finland First to Recognize Pro eSports Players as Athletes

eSports, or electronic sports, have been around for decades but in the recent years its popularity as a sport has been on the rise. The budding sport has even taken roots in the Nordic country of Finland following the country officially recognizing eSports pro players as real athletes, the first to ever do so.

As a matter of fact, eSports is such a well-established form of sports that the Paris Olympic committee is open to adding eSports to the 2024 games. And no wonder, as there are dozens, if not hundreds of millions of eSports players. Clearly betting on eSports is also on the rise as top bookmakers now offer a range of eSports markets!

Status of eSports in Finland

Without a doubt, eSports is here to stay. According to Nordic Business Insider, The Finnish Central Tax Board recently announced a decision to consider eSports players as athletes for tax purposes. The statement justifies this by explaining:

"Sports can also mean mental games of skill, where success is primarily based on something other than physical performance."

This ruling will now mean that the player's wages and tournament winnings will now qualify as "professional sports activities earnings". The decision was reportedly made after review of a Finnish tax resident who was contracted by an American organisation to play, practice and perform marketing duties.

Finland is undeniably a forerunner when it comes to eSports. Even though Finland doesn’t have quite as many professional players as their rival neighbouring country Sweden, it still beats the other Nordic countries with their pro player numbers. One of Europe’s most popular eSports gaming events, Assembly, is held in Finland.

Assembly has been organized annually since 1992 but due to its popularity, the event is now held twice a year. In Sweden and Norway, some schools have taken eSports as part of their subject selection but Finland takes a leap forward. Around the world eSports athletes are already being trained.

Some local newspapers have even reported that the University of Applied Sciences in Kainuu and Vuokatti-Ruka Sports Academy are building an eSports learning environment and training centre in Kainuu, Northern Finland. This means that a student can get training in eSports as an athlete would in any other sports.

What Exactly did Finland Recognize?

eSports, ie. electronic sports, is competitive gaming in video games. Despite its name, not all games are actually sports games. As a matter of fact, the most popular genres in the field of electronic sports are:

  • Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
  • First Person Shooter (FPS)
  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)

There are some other genres that are popular in Finland as well, such as dance and band games, fighting games and racing games. The games can be purely played as a hobby but it can become a profession. There are several games and forms involved in betting, but Finnish favourites seem to be Counter Strike and League of Legends.

Budding eSports Tournaments

eSports players go up against each other in tournaments. Various tournaments are always held one after another, with a wide range of games. Millions of people follow the events, especially the world championships, which can gather tens of millions of viewers.

Betting sites have also clearly taken note of the popularity of eSports. More and more top rated betting sites have embarked on the boom that is the eSports market. New games and tournaments being added to betting sites all the time. Several betting sites even list eSports games in their traditional sports section.

In the sports section, you can find any current and upcoming tournaments they have available. Tournaments may vary per site, so check out tournaments across all our recommended eSports betting sites to find your favourite one! It’s also worth checking out when the biggest tournaments are running to get the best odds.

Many tournaments also have a seasonal structure, like traditional sports so background information is important if you don’t follow the eSports scene. Punters can bet either on a whole team or a single player; a quick internet search gives you an idea how well the team or the player have done in previous tournamets.

Ready to Bet on eSports?

Betting on eSports is a relatively recent phenomenon compared to other sport betting markets. The betting itself is exactly the same as betting in sports. Finns are well-known sportsmen and eSports are not an exception to the rule. It is not difficult to predict that betting on eSports will become more popular and popular over the upcoming years.

Most popular gaming genres in betting are First Person Shooter, Real Time Strategy and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Punters usually have personal experience in playing the games they bet on but it’s worth exploring other genres and more importantly, finding good odds.

eSports usually offers delicious odds. The trick is to find the odds that offer big payouts. It can be very challenging for betting sites to set the odds in eSports so you should study statistics and follow the scene so in time you can be more cunning than the betting sites! Check out what NetBet has to offer when it comes to eSports betting!

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