Professional Gamer? Here's What You Need to Know About the Law

Have you been thinking about becoming a gamer? Make sure you understand the business side of things before you get started. Here's what you need to know.

If you're ready to expand your career and try something new, chances are that competitive and professional gaming is appealing. eSports grow in popularity each year with more and more tournaments, teams, and leagues available to players. If you've been thinking about becoming a professional eSports player, it's vital that you talk with your attorney about how you can prepare to do this legally. If you plan to make money from gaming, you'll need to carefully track your income and expenses, as well as carefully review any and all contracts before you sign them. Here's what you need to know.

First off, make sure you track all of your expenses. As a professional gamer, you'll be able to make some business deductions when you file your taxes each year. Typically, deductions you can claim may include your computer, headset, mouse, keyboard, and any other equipment you may purchase for gaming. If you need to buy a specific chair in which to game, make sure you save that receipt, too. If you have a home office, you may be able to claim additional expenses, such as a portion of your home's utilities, as well as your home Internet costs.

It's also important that you track your payments. Typically, if you're paid from advertisers, you'll receive a 1099 which will clearly state how much money you received. This will help you as you prepare your taxes by clearly stating how much you made; however, no company is perfect and even a 1099 form may have discrepancies. Make sure you keep your own records to track your payments. Then you can compare the numbers. If you notice a problem with your reported income compared to your actual income, your attorney can help you discuss this with the company and have a corrected 1099 issued to you.

Finally, don't sign any contracts with eSports teams until you have your attorney review the terms and agreements within. Unfortunately, companies don't always have your best interests at heart. They have their own best interests at the forefront of their minds. This means that there may be terms in the contract that aren't necessarily good for you, the player. Before you sign, talk with your lawyer about the contract. Your attorney can help explain different clauses and verbiage to you. If you have specific questions, your lawyer can help. Most importantly, your attorney will be able to point out any problem areas in the contract that may indicate you don't want to sign that particular document.

Before you launch your eSports career, meet with your attorney to discuss your options. Your business law attorney can help you review contracts, discuss negotiating terms, and assist you making sure that you get the best possible deal when you're becoming a professional gamer.