Philippines government pledges support for esports
“It cannot be denied that esports requires tremendous amounts of skill and training”
The Philippines is the latest nation to recognise and promise further support for the professional competitive gaming industry.
Esports Observer reports that a statement from the nation's Games and Amusements Board says the government body has "started recognising esports or competitive computer/video gaming as among the professional activities falling under its regulation and supervision."
To begin with, the GAB has officially licensed several Filipino Dota 2 players to travel to the USA for the upcoming international tournament. Previously, these players would often end up signing with Chinese teams.
However, there is also word that the government will start taxing winnings earned from esports events, with Esports Observer reporting that prizes are often higher than the Philippines' basic income tax. The hope is that at least some of the taxable revenue taken from high-earning esports players will be invested back into further supporting the industry.
From the government's perspective, a higher tax rate for esports players is perhaps understandable when you consider that the prize pool for the upcoming Dota 2 International stands at a record $20.78m. Elsewhere in the sector, the winning team of the Overwatch League will receive a $50,000 annual salary for each player.
Given the growth of esports in Asia, it is nonetheless encouraging to see official recognition of the industry from the government.
The official GAB statement read: "While esports is different from the traditional competitions that we are used to, it cannot be denied that esports requires tremendous amounts of skill and training, and in the case of [multiplayer] online battle arenas (MOBA), careful planning and strong teamwork. With its growing popularity and commercial success in recent years, it has caught the attention of the government since up to now there seems to be no supervision and regulation in place."