Esport officially recognized as professional sport in Thailand

Esports is a thriving industry with players in various sectors and plenty of business opportunities. After a long wait, the Professional Sports Commission of Thailand (“Sports Commission“) Esport officially recognized and advertised as a professional sport, similar to other traditional sports (eg football and golf). This official recognition offers concrete protection and legal obligations to companies and stakeholders Of the industry.

In 2017, the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) decided to officially approve esport as a type of sport that can register as a sports association. Despite this decision, there remained a lack of concrete mechanisms and measures to manage various aspects of the esports industry, in particular for the protection of the welfare and working conditions of professional esports players, as it was not recognized in the same way as professional sport.

Now, under the notification of the Professional Sports Commission regarding the designation of types or categories of sports which are professional sports (No. 2) BE 2564 (2021) (“Notification“), esport is finally recognized as a professional sport under the Professional Sport Promotion Act BE 2556 (2013) (“Professional sport lawThe protection and legal obligations that apply to traditional professional sports apply to players in the esports industry.

Below are some key protections and legal obligations for esports industry stakeholders:


Professional esports clubs and professional esports associations


Professional esports clubs and professional esports associations are required to inform the competent authority of their operation. For existing professional esports clubs and associations, they will have to notify their operations to the competent authority within 90 days from the date of entry into force of the Notification (i.e. 90 days from September 21, 2021).


Those who notify the competent authority will be granted the right to use esport-related words in the name of their club or association, and will receive certain benefits (e.g. athlete and staff development, athlete information , participation in national and international professional competitions, and lending of SAT properties).


Notified professional clubs and associations must, among others, meet the following key requirements:


Enter into a contract with each of their athletes and esports staff, which must contain the minimum conditions required (for example, normal working hours, annual leave and termination of employment).


Issue a code of conduct for their athletes or esports staff, which must include penalties for violations.


Provide assurance that athletes, staff, fans or participants in the Exhibit Field events / competitions who participate will act in an orderly manner throughout the competition.


Athletes and professional esport staff


Professional athletes and esports personnel are required to inform the competent authority of their professional status. In the same vein as clubs and associations, those who notify the competent authority will obtain certain forms of protection and benefits (for example, participation in national and international professional competitions, borrowing of SAT properties and protection of contractual rights with professional esports clubs or associations).


In the event of unfair practices by esports clubs and associations, professional athletes and staff can lodge a complaint with the competent authorities.


Professional athletes and esports personnel have the right to form an organization to uphold the dignity and safeguard the interests of its members.

Failure to comply with the notification requirements could result in administrative fines of up to THB 100,000 (approximately USD 3,050).

ns up to 100,000 THB (approximately 3,050 USD).

The content is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice. This may be termed a “lawyer advertisement” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Past results do not guarantee similar results. For more information, please visit:

Sara R. Cicero