Redefining Sports: The Status of Gaming As Esports

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Side view of a professional gamer wearing headphones participating in esport tournament
BetMGM Aug 25, 2023, 6:36 AM

Once in a while, a new phenomenon comes to the fore and redefines the sporting industry. A prime example of this is esports, a term that has risen in prominence in recent years and has garnered what some might even call a cult following. While some might look at esports and think that playing video games can’t be in the same category as basketball games that attract millions of fans from across the globe, research and statistics suggest otherwise.

A lot of questions are to be expected when something unconventional and novel starts gaining acclaim and challenges the norm. To an extent, this was the case with online casino games too, as some struggled to place the concept in the gambling industry. The sports industry is changing and constantly evolving, prompting the question, “Should gaming be a sport?”

Criteria That Defines a Sport

Typically, a sport is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” With this in mind, there are many arguments to be made both for and against esports being classified as a sport.

For starters, sitting behind a computer screen and relying on your fingertips to do all the work might not seem to align with “sporting” requirements. However, esports athletes may beg to differ. Much like conventional sports, esports also require a level of mental and physical fortitude, as well as extensive training and practice to become a pro. In this regard, there appears to be very little difference between sports and esports.

Another aspect to consider is skill. Undoubtedly, the most famed sports stars in the world gained that acclaim because they possess a certain level of skill that can only be marveled at by the masses. This can be said to be true for esports players as well. Not everybody can excel at it, so the skillful aspect of the definition of sports definitely factors in. Much like conventional sports, there’s a visible difference between beginner esports players and those with more experience, which comes with time and skill.

Delving Deeper Into Esports

The structured approach to esports that now exists is one of the main reasons why the lines are blurred on whether it should be classified as a sport. One thing’s for sure, though — it has evolved from being just a hobby or leisure activity into a lucrative industry that challenges what a sport is. Other factors that are worth considering include the following.

Competitive Nature

Like traditional sports, esports are highly competitive. This is evidenced by the extensive training and strict routines that professional players are subjected to. All of the hours of rigorous training culminate in grand tournaments with thousands of spectators that gather at stadiums and large-capacity venues to get a real-time view of all the gaming action.


What was once a sport played in people’s bedrooms or living rooms has grown into a well-organized activity. Those who aspire to go pro have no choice but to implement similar measures as traditional sports stars. Players with aspirations of becoming the next big name in esports may go to the extent of enlisting a coach or manager to improve their chances of success. Tournaments have also opened the doors for analysts and commentators to weigh in on all the action — as they would in traditional sports matches. Again, this highlights how esports closely resembles the activity and organization of traditional sports, proving that it is indeed redefining the sports industry.

Global Reach of Esports

Much like gambling, esports have gained global prominence because they’re digitally based and have no geographic limitations. When you consider how gambling matches and tournaments can be conducted online, it comes as no surprise that similar measures and structures are put in place for esports. This means that esports enthusiasts from any part of the world can participate in gaming activities and enjoy the thrill of it all at the same time.

Growing Recognition and Legitimacy of Esports

Over the years, esports have gained recognition and legitimacy, thanks in large part to the organization of professional teams, leagues and tournaments that have been established to give these games their place in the industry. In fact, the Olympic Esports Series (EOS) is just one key example of how esports are becoming recognized as a part of the sports industry.

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The debate on whether esports is a sport is ongoing, but one thing’s for sure — it has sparked much conversation and redefined sports. Like with online casinos, technological advances have propelled the popularity of esports to dizzying heights in recent years. Nowadays, people can play their favorite online slots and other casino games from just about anywhere in the world. If you’re looking to expand your horizons and see what other exciting games are available to you, step into an online casino and register at BetMGM to gain unlimited access to top-rated games.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.