Esports is to be recognised as a professional sports category in India following the government’s decision to reclassify ‘competitive gaming as a multi-sports event’.
The approval will see esports events no longer categorised under the umbrella term of ‘online gaming’, which had been long disputed by Indian esports stakeholders.
Securing its recognition as a pro-sports category, the policy development and integrity of esports will be overseen by India’s Department of Sports, reporting to the Ministry of Youth Affairs.
The changes allowing for esports new classification were approved by Droupadi Murmu, President of India, who signed amendments into sports law.
India’s government agreed that changes were required to recognise “esports as a separate entity from the broader category of online gaming like fantasy, rummy and casinos”.
“While online gaming is a loose term referring to playing any video game regardless of platform or level, esports refers to competitive video gaming”.
The Esports Federation of India (EFI) welcomed the approval as a “monumental decision” for the future of esports in India, which has secured a new platform to grow its professional presence and ambitions.
“We welcome this announcement by our government under the leadership of Hon’ble PM Modi ji, which will open new avenues to pour in more investment opportunities in this booming industry,” remarked EFI Director Lokesh Suji.
“We have constantly been working on establishing the difference between esports and iGaming, and finally, our efforts have been fulfilled.
“It will only be a short time until we see esports being placed in the same league as cricket, football, basketball, etc. and having similar fan power, scale and craze.”