The Thai government seeks to upgrade system for e-sports and to promote it as a promising new business given its THB22 billion (US$701 million) revenue last year, which puts Thailand in the 19th position in the world, The Bangkok Post reported.

“E-sports has increased in popularity over the past decade in Thailand as the local game market and e-sports are growing steadily,” said Chutinat Wongsuban, deputy secretary-general of NESDC.

In 2017, the record showed that there were 18.3 million gamers in Thailand, which accounts for one-fourth of the population. Wongsuban said that the government should support game developers by offering them assistance and tax measures.

Within the same year, the Sports Authority of Thailand also approved e-sports certification as a registered sport type by official regulators, according to the Sports Authority of Thailand Act 2015.

Aside from the gamers tally, there were 2.6 million viewers of e-sports competitions in Thailand last year, a figure that’s expected to increase by 30 per cent by 2021.

Also Read: (Exclusive) Singapore startup H3 Dynamics to close its US$16M Series B round in August

E-sports business is said to create careers and related occupations such as game casters, game reviewers, commentators, referees, and competition organisers. The survey noted that the respondents believed that it creates opportunities and motivation for children and teenagers to be more creative.

However, at the moment, Thailand does not yet have a law on e-sports and there’s only a ministerial regulation on the permission and operation of video stores under the Film and Video Act 2008. It controls game cafes by defining the duration of the play time and the use of children in the cafes, not age ratings for gaming content.

In foreign countries, there are measures that help determine the type of game (ratings), control advertising, and public relations, as well as supervise e-sports participants and competitions.

Also Read: Shopee takes aim at Lazada with live streaming play

An economic boost on one side, but a potential addiction inducer on the other side. The study also warned that children can be exposed to negative health effects, mood, and behaviour, such as back pain, body aches, and eye problems as a result of gaming addiction, and adults may be prone to gambling and career instability.