Professional esports claims official recognition from the Finnish government as pro players are now regarded as athletes.
According to an article on the Nordic Business Insider, the Finnish Central Tax Board recently announced a decision to consider esports players as athletes for tax purposes. The statement justifies the move by describing how sports “can also mean mental games of skill, where success is primarily based on something other than physical performance.”
The news comes just one week after we reported that the Games and Amusements Board in the Philippines officially recognised esports for the purposes of their support and regulation.
The decision by the Tax Board was reportedly made after review of a Finnish tax resident who was contracted by an American organisation to play, practice and perform marketing duties such as attending events, performing interviews, and taking part in photo shoots.
This ruling will now mean that the player’s wages and tournament winnings will now qualify as ‘professional sports activities earnings’. Consequently, a portion of this income can be placed in an investment fund which receives sheltering from tax. The fund’s purpose is help aid athletes transition as their sports careers come to an end – which will be a welcome addition for esports players, who commonly stop competing before hitting their thirties.
Earlier this year, we reported on Finland’s status as a rising giant in the games industry, with over a billion people playing games that have originated on Finnish soil.
Esports Insider says: It appears that the floodgates have begun to open for governments lending support to esports worldwide. Moves like this one, as well as helping regulate the industry and support its athletes, also lend serious credence to its organisations. That may prove pivotal in securing them more and more non-endemic business partners as the scene develops.