Officials with the Electronic Sports League (ESL), a competitive video gaming organization, have started testing gamers for performance enhancing drugs to ensure the playing field is level across all participants, as well as for the safety of the competitors.
The use of performance enhancing drugs is commonly found in physical sporting events, such as football and baseball, but has found its way into video game competitions as well. Although you might not find drugs such as steroids in the competitions, stimulants such as Adderall are the drug of choice for gamers that want a one up on the competition.
The decision comes after one gamer, according to Business Insider, admitted to taking Adderall to help him stay awake while playing at a tournament. The Electronic Sports League announced that they will begin administering random skin tests, beginning at the tournament in Cologne, Germany, in August. The focal game of the tournament is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The top prize is stated to be $250,000.
Metro stated that the ESL will team up with the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure that the tests are administered fairly and accurately. The random drug tests will coincide with the already existing rules banning drugs and alcohol from the events. Anyone found guilty of drugs or alcohol consumption will be banned from the tournaments.
The Electronic Sports League shared, in a statement, that they hope to keep the tournaments fair and level for all gamers.
“ESL has an ongoing commitment to safeguarding the integrity of our competitions and providing a fair playground for professional players.”
Professional gamer Kory Friesen shared that the hectic environment of the gaming tournaments led to many gamers doing what it takes to stay ahead in the game.
“The ESL comms were kind of funny… we were all on Adderall. Tons of people do it.”
The Electronic Sports League realizes that it was only a matter of time before they had to crack down on the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs as the popularity of electronic sports has powered up in the industry.
“The growing visibility and popularity of eSports, as well as increasing prize pools make it not only more tempting for teams and players to break the rules, but also more damaging to our sport as a whole when they do.”
Professional gamers take the electronic sports leagues seriously, with prize pools reaching more than $17 million in some cases. Many have worked hard to perfect their skills, while others have chosen to cheat using performance enhancing methods.
[Photo Courtesy: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News]