eSports does not at all offer its participants the same physical activity as football or track athletics.But Swedish parliamentarian Rickard Nordin, is a fierce lobbyist for the trending activity: “The best eSports players have to make 400 decisions a minute. It is not possible to be that sharp without being in good shape”, says Rickard.
Rickard Nordin (Centerpartiet (Center Party)) is a member of Sweden’s 349-strong parliament, that will be voting for reregulation of the Swedish gambling market in May or June.
And he is a staunch champion for both the reregulation, and for the more and more visible merge, between eSports and online gambling.
“I think the reregulation bill will be passed without any problems. Technology has made the old regulation obsolete, and I am happy that we are finally closing this”, says Nordin.
Rickard will vote for a reregulation with an 18 per cent tax rate for all, and is sure that a clear majority in the Swedish Parliament will do the same:
“Everything said and done, we are quite happy with the suggested changes as they are. There is of course a group from the parliament, that has worked on the reregulation together. On a personal note, there are small details with this bill that I would have done differently. But it is always like that, and I think this will pass through Riksdagen without a problem”.
Rickard is a speaker in the eSports panel, in the upcoming i-Gaming Forum at Berns Salonger on April 17-18. “As far as i am concerned eSports is a sector that is currently neglected and forgotten. Despite being one of the most important types of activity, that we have in Sweden”.
Why is this so?
“I guess it’s much a generational problem. But I am an eSports gamer myself, and I also stream myself, says Rickard. Who representing the Gothenburg region in parliament, and who is one of it’s younger generation members”.
What are the main issues?
“The visa rules in Sweden are lagging behind, because eSports is not really regarded as a sport. The educational part of it, does not get the right recognition, and there are tax issues as well”.
According to Rickard, the increased popularity of eSports, is of benefit to society in many ways.
“That habitual drinking is going down amongst teenagers, and other young people is partly due to eSports, I know that for a fact. eSports is a lot about team effort, making logical decisions, and learning to communicate clearly. Learning the English language properly not least…”
Rickard is a bit disappointed, with the slow progress that eSports is making in Sweden:
“We are world class, if you talk about the actual players and their performance. But it’s appalling, that often visas are not granted to top foreign players for the biggest eSports competitions. Or work permits, so they can join top teams here. It’s comparable to Russias ice hockey team not given visas, for a World Championship in Sweden”.
“Or the football player Marta, not given a visa to play in the Swedish women’s football league. We can compare this to the German government declaration, for example, where eSports is mentioned specifically”, Rickard says to i-Gaming Forum
You are speaking at the i-Gaming Forum in Stockholm on April 18, in a panel that will be discussing the merge between eSports and online gambling…
“This is very important! Partly because it means sponsorship and commercial perks. And it also means more professional gaming. Clear rules at all major events, good drug controls and other safeguards as well”.
Apart from all the issues that you have mentioned, what is most important for eSports in Sweden right now?
“Where does eSports fit in? Is it culture? Is it sports? It is important that this is defined, that eSports is properly recognised. There is more than a symbolic value for this”.
Rickard Nordin sums up his case:
“It’s vital that eSports players get this recognition. They are doing something, that is positive for society, not something that they should be ashamed of in any way”.