What Is Prohibited In eSports? [A Complete Guide]

The world of eSports is one of the most competitive out there.

What Is Prohibited In eSports? [A Complete Guide]

As with all competitions, the thrill of the challenge is based on all players competing on a level playing field. It’s a matter of skills and know-how, with the best coming up against the best. 

Whether it’s sports games, MMOGAs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games), FPS (First-Person Shooters), or fighting titles, it all comes down to who is the most skillful.

And, with such high-stakes and colossal cash rewards on the line, players will do almost anything to beat their enemies and become victorious. 

Although eSports are not regarded as an internal sport, there are strict rules and regulations surrounding the industry.

These strict guidelines are in place as to not give one player an unfair advantage over another.

As in Olympic sports and games such as Football, Soccer, and Basketball, the use of substances is strictly prohibited by pro gamers. 

The list of substances and items banned in eSports are decided by the ESL – the Electronic Sports League.

Whilst many substances are banned, some drugs are allowed, as long as the gamer has permission from an eSports tournament authority or  league commissioner.

An example of such a drug would be Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Many drugs are completely banned in eSports, though. Together with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the ESL has a list of narcotics, stimulants, glucocorticoids, and cannabinoids that are completely prohibited for every single eSports event around the world. 

Today, we have gathered this shortlist of prohibited substances at eSports tournaments, as well as some punishments if caught using them in an event. 

Illegal Stimulants 

As in any type of sport, many stimulants are banned, especially those that can increase awareness and vigilance. 

Here is a list of illegal stimulants in the eSports industry:

  • Adrafinil
  • Amfepramone
  • Amfetamine
  • Amfetaminil
  • Amiphenazole
  • Benfluorex
  • Benzylpiperazine
  • Bromantan
  • Clobenzorex
  • Cocaine
  • Cropropamide
  • Crotetamide
  • Fencamine
  • Fenethylline 
  • Fenfluramine
  •  Fenproporex 
  • Fonturacetam (4-phenylpiracetam) (carphedon)
  • Furfenorex 
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Mefenorex 
  • Mephentermine 
  • Mesocarb, Metamfetamine(d-)
  • p-methylamphetamine 
  • Modafinil 
  • Norfenfluramine 
  • Phendimetrazine
  • Phentermine 
  • Prenylamine 
  • Prolintane 
  • Selegiline 
  • Sibutramine
  • Strychnine
  • Tenamfetamine (methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • Tuaminoheptane

Some drugs, such as Adderall, can be used, as long as the player has a valid prescription for usage.

They must also inform the correct regulatory authority and supply a physician’s note that is legitimate as proof for eSports events.

Some stimulants are allowed in eSports tournaments, such as:

  • Bupropion
  • Caffeine
  • Clonidine
  • Imidazole derivatives (used for topical use)
  • Nicotine
  • Pipradrol
  • Phenylpropanolamine
  • Synephrine

Illegal Cannabinoids

Although the use of cannabis has been legalized in many states throughout the U.S., the calming effects of this substance are thought to give players an upper hand in various eSports match scenarios.

For instance, two opponents could be in the heat of an intense, stressful battle, but if one has consumed cannabis, they may feel more relaxed and would perform better.

A list of illegal cannabinoids set out by the ESL are:

  • Synthetic Cannabinoids
  • Natural cannabinoids, such as cannabis, Hashish, and Marijuana 
  • THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • Other forms of Cannabimimetics

Interestingly, the ESL allows players to use cannabis recreationally outside eSports events. Instead, it is completely banned from being used on the day of any eSports tournament.

Moreover, Cannabidio, a chemical in the Cannabis sativa plant, is considered legal by the ESL.

Illegal Narcotics

Illegal Narcotics

It goes without saying, but narcotics are prohibited in the world of eSports. Unless you’re physically in the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive, morphine just is not required! 

The illegal narcotics in eSports are:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Dextromoramide
  • Diamorphine (heroin)
  • Fentanyl (as well as any of its derivatives)
  • Hydromorphone
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Nicomorphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Pentazocine
  • Pethidine

Illegal Glucocorticoids

Glucocorticoids are considered dangerous by many physicians, and the ESL.

Although many people use these to limit or prevent inflammation, the side effects of Glucocorticoids can be hugely detrimental to your health. Therefore, a list of these are banned by the ESL.

The list includes:

  • Betamethasone
  • Budesonide
  • Cortisone
  • Deflazacort
  • Dexamethasone
  • Fluticasone
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Prednisolone
  • Prednisone
  • Triamcinolone

Punishments If Caught Using Prohibited Substances In eSports

Drug tests were introduced to eSports in 2015 to ensure every player was taking part fairly and had no advantage over their opponents.

The good news is that not one single participant has tested positive for any kind of performance enhancing drug since.

However, there are punishments in place for players if they are caught taking illegal substances or test positive for doping.

The varied punishments include:

  • A deduction of any prize money won
  • Disqualification from tournaments
  • Point subtractions from tournaments
  • A ban of up to two years in all ESL events

Even if a player is struck with just one of these punishments, it could lead to them losing sponsorship deals and other benefits they have achieved over time.

In extreme cases, it could end up with the player losing their place on their eSport team, but this will depend on the moral clauses set out in their contract. 

Adderall And eSports 

One substance that has been brought up time and time again in eSports is Adderall.

Although banned in all eSports events and competitive sports, for that matter, Adderall can be used during tournaments but only when prescribed by a doctor.

Moreover, the player must get this approval before a tournament begins and get approval from the appropriate authority. Non-prescribed use, however, is completely prohibited, 

Adderall is used by many to help ADHD, ADD, and narcolepsy, but it can increase stamina, playability, consistency, and focus in healthy gamers, if taken.

Therefore, they get an unfair advantage over their sober opponents, especially in first-person shooters. 

Kory Friesen, a pro gamer, has spoken out about his heavy use of Adderall, but only to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

He also went on to say that each member of his team once took performance enhancing stimulants at a tournament in Poland.

This made one thing clear – the consumption of Adderall was actually pretty common in eSports.

This is what led to random drug testing for all eSports tournaments ever since. 

In Summary 

Many substances are banned in eSports but, thankfully, no one has tested positive for any banned stimulant or drug since the inception of drug tests in 2015.

However, players are monitored carefully for any behavior which may seem suspicious.

Ashley Newby