Irina Sergienko: Gaming industry is the only branch of the economy that unites both skill and chance games

Irina Sergienko: Gaming industry is the only branch of the economy that unites both skill and chance games

Among the reports at the eSportconf Ukraine 2017 conference, a great interest was provoked by the presentation of Irina Sergienko, a President of the Ukrainian Gaming Industry Association. As an experienced lawyer in the field of gambling, sports and IT law, the speaker shared information about the Ukraine’s legislative procedure for obtaining official sports status, including her vision of the possibility of recognizing e-Sports as a sport. The advantages and disadvantages of an official recognition procedure generated considerable interest among the audience.

The press service of the conference spoke to the expert to learn more about her opinion on the Ukrainian e-Sports and its prospects.

Interviewer: Lidiya Tsenenko (L. T.)

Speaker: Irina Sergienko (I. S.)

L. T.: Hello Irina. You are a recognized expert in the gambling industry. Why did you decide to focus on e-Sports as well?

I. S.: For a long while, I have been involved only in gambling and its legalization in Ukraine. At some point the perspectivity of gaming industry has become obvious. However, to make its effective development possible, it is very important to regulate it properly at the legislative level.

It is for a reason that in the western world games are conditionally divided into two groups, namely, into games of chance and games of skill. And in order to regulate the game industry correctly, in my opinion, it is advisable to define these issues at the legislative level. There are also games that inherently exist at the junction of these concepts and their gameplay depends on both skill and chance. This issue in the long view may lead to diverse law application and its abuse. Therefore, it is important that every type of gaming industry could obtain transparent and understandable rules.

As for e-Sports, what drew my attention was the inclusion of cyber sport in the list of official sports in Russia. And when I started to explore the subject, it became clear that it was the time to create the Ukrainian Gaming Industry Association. We hope to become an expert and public platform that will unite efforts aimed at creating conditions for the development of the industry, including at the legislative level.

L. T.: During the speech at eSPORTconf Ukraine, you relied on the audience feedback. What can you say about the possibility of official recognition of e-Sports in Ukraine?

I. S.: I will not make certain predictions, but my experience in the field of gambling shows that it is important to take the first step and ‘plant seeds’. Today, I just try to share information and my understanding of the situation. I tried to outline the pros and cons of recognizing e-Sports as the sports discipline at the national level.

In the report, I focused on the feasibility and legal obstacles that will be encountered along the way. I think eventually, the issue of legal regulation of e-Sports in Ukraine will be raised, but how soon this will happen depends on the readiness of the related ‘ground’. According to the reaction of the audience, the community is ready to act, but for now, it is just an idea.

L. T.: According to many experts, 2017 will be the most successful for local e-Sports thanks to The Kiev Major. What do you think about it?

I. S.: When it comes to a large number of people involved and significant prize funds, this certainly attracts attention. The money attracts interest followed by the real attempts to solidify this interest. In such cases, the market is capable of self-motivating its own development.

It is preferable that industry representatives act consolidated. Consolidation is a very important aspect of development. I would not like e-Sports to repeat gambling’s mistakes. Individual representatives tried to act separately and promote their personal interest instead of joining efforts for the development of the industry as a whole. In the end, everyone loses – the state, the society and business.

L. T.: Can you share your opinion on the eSPORTconf Ukraine 2017?

I. S.: I really like the event. Yesterday I was not sure that I would give the audience information that would be interesting to them. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when my speech received such a positive response. But the thing I liked the most were reports of my colleagues. I learned a lot of new and useful information. The conference helped me to understand the industry and motivated me to continue my work on the development of Ukrainian e-Sports.

We also recommend that you read the interview with another interesting speaker of our conference – Sofia Dunaevskaya.

Event summary can be found here.

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