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News & MediaE-Sports & Regulation

22 de November, 2023

The balance between Innovation and Responsibility


E-Sports (also known as Electronic Sports) is the term commonly used to refer to organized competitions in electronic games, mainly in the form of tournaments between professional players or teams.

Said competitions may cover a variety of game genres, such as first-person shooters (FPS), real-time strategy (RTS), fighting games, multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA), among many others and can take place both online and in specific venues with a face-to-face audience and also, as expected, before a significant online audience via streaming platforms. Around the world spectators of these competitions are estimated as being more than 500 million.

E-Sports have been recognized as being at the forefront of innovation and as one of the most important incubators for technological innovation, driving significant advances in various areas, from graphic improvements to the development of new forms of online competitions. This symbiosis has transformed not only the way games are played, but also how they are perceived, experienced, and incorporated into global culture.

In recent years, E-Sports emerged as an extremely popular and lucrative form of entertainment, attracting millions of spectators and players all over the world and becoming a global phenomenon.

In 2022, E-Sports global market was valued at just over 1.30 billion euros, and global market revenues for this industry are expected to increase up to 1.76 billion euros by 2025. Asia and North America currently represent the largest E-Sports markets in terms of revenue, with China accounting for almost a fifth of the market.

Such a rapid growth and complexity of the sector has led to the rise of relevant regulatory and liability issues.

One example of said complexity being the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in E-sports. AI has established itself as a revolutionary technology that is increasingly present in different areas of society. AI tools use algorithms and mathematical plans to process large amounts of available data or data entered via programming, so that they can learn and train how to carry out certain tasks, making automated decisions.

In E-sports, the use of those tools might benefit gameplay, improve player experiences, create content, and develop more dynamic features and games.

However, we can’t help but point out the legal problems arising from the use of this tools, notably, the ones concerning cyber security and data protection, transparency and fair play, intellectual and industrial property, technological inequalities and opportunities, ethical issues, among many, many others.

The use of these type of tools has massively increased, whether in terms of personalizing content or using them as “virtual assistants”.

Yet, is it possible to blindly trust AI? Is AI, for example, capable of providing legal advice capable of solving the legal problems raised by the gaming industry here listed, such as regulation and liability?

We decided to test the technology in preparation for this writing by asking ChatGPT 3.5 to produce an article on the following topics:

1: “Protection of minors in E-sports in Portugal”

2: “Civil liability in E-Sports in Portugal”


In both cases, the articles produced by the tool foccused mainly on the absence of specific regulation for the sector, centering the analysis on “Future Challenges and the Need for Regulation”, resorting to generic statements such as “in Portugal, specific regulation for Sports is still under development” and that the lack of a specific structure for E-Sports may lead to loopholes that can jeopardize minors’ rights and the raise issued on civil liability, concluding with a generic recommendation for the creation of industry-orientated regulation ([1]).

When asked directly about what are laws on protection of minors and civil liability regarding E-Sports in force in Portugal, the answer was the same for both questions: “Until my last update in January 2022, I have no specific information on laws on the protection of minors/civil liability in E-Sports in Portugal. Laws can vary and are updated regularly. I recommend checking official legal sources in Portugal, such as the government website, or consulting a specialized lawyer for up-to-date information on child protection/civil liability laws relating to E-Sports in the country.” ([2]).

Taking for granted the absence of specific regulations on any of the subject matters at stake, in neither was the technology capable of a critical analysis of the current legislation that might be relevant to rule both issues, namely: protection of minors, labor law, consumer law, civil and criminal liability, or applicable contractual regimes, all of which are highly relevant in the search for an answer to the legal matters that currently emerge in the world of E-Sports, until specific regulations are approved.

Technology has been incapable of an interpretative analysis of existing law, which is vital in order avoid leaving the legal questions raised by E-Sport unanswered. Lawyers and jurists, differently, analyze existing regulations and effectively provide answers by interpreting and adapting the law to this reality, filling in gaps and looking for creative solutions capable of accommodating realities not foreseen by the legislator when conceiving the rules. This is a task that AI has admittedly been unable to fulfil.

Thus, we may conclude, although these tools in their current stage of development, may play an important role in helping to carry out human tasks, the belief in their ability to directly, immediately and assertively solve the most varied day-to-day problems is still a mirage.

E-Sports represent an exciting fusion of technological innovation and sports competition in an electronic format. However, it is crucial that we guarantee a balance between innovation and legal responsibility, which we can only reach through continuous dialogue between regulators, developers, and players – essential to ensure a sustainable future for E-Sports, where innovation coexists harmoniously with regulation.

Until then, legal advice, capable of connecting and adapting governing law to realities it was not intended to rule, plays an essential role in reaching this balance.


by Ricardo Cardoso, Cláudia Leonardo e Gonçalo Oliveira Martins, Practice Area – Sports, Fashion and Entertainment


[1] See articles produced by ChatGPT 3.5 at  and

[2] See answers produced by ChatGPT 3.5 on 19 November 2023.
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