From baseball's Mitchell Report to track star Marion Jones being stripped of her Olympic medals, the awareness of drug use in competitive sports is at an all-time high. So high, in fact, that even professional gaming can't stay ducked under the radar .
Casting aside for the moment whether or not gaming qualifies as a 'sport,' there's no debate to the amount of money being made in professional gaming. Major League Gaming gives up to $100,000 a tournament in prize money, and the other U.S. based major league, the newly minted Championship Gaming Series, has awarded as much as $500,000 in tournaments. The tally gets even higher when expanding to a global view.
And whether or not you count professional gaming as a sport, with that much money at stake, is anyone surprised that accusations of drug use have started to be thrown? According to GamePlayer , an Australian lead gaming site, some of the commonly abused substances include marijuana, amphetamines, Dexamphetamine and Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Caffeine, and FpsBrain.
In a followup to the story, GamePlayer pinged Alex Walker, the director of the Australian World Cyber Games Tournament, who readily acknowledged that players are abusing drugs in order to enhance their performance. Walker notes seeing "a number of players at national tournaments who came in "baked" purely so they could play better."
As professional gaming grows in popularity, drug use could potentially become an even bigger problem. But at the current profit margin, gaming leagues can ill afford to implement drug testing, and DailyTech notes that a strict drug enforcement policy that includes marijuana could be met with a backlash among gamers.
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Image Credit: MTV