Esports can provide a "lifesaving therapy for gambling addition" and help people with disabilities realise their "sports potential", a Russian politician has claimed.
Boris Paikin, head of State Duma's committee on physical culture, sports, tourism and youth affairs revealed the committee was looking to create of a "national esports infrastructure".
"Esports can be an excellent substitute for gaming, a lifesaving therapy for gambling addiction," Paikin said.
"This is a tool that, not by prohibitions, but by offering a better, safer (if not useful), interesting alternative, contributes to overcoming unhealthy addiction to computer games and the formation of a sports approach to computer games among the younger generation.
"Esport involves strict regulation of games and the mentoring of experienced professionals.
"In addition, it will expand the possibilities of people with physical disabilities in terms of realising their sports potential, which is why we are considering the development of a set of measures to support computer sports and create favourable conditions for the development of the national esports infrastructure."
Paikin admitted some of his colleagues had raised concerns over potential negative health problems, but he felt esport competitors needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prepare for events.
"There is a demand for esports on the part of young people, and this is gratifying because in the process of training young people train their mental acuity, considerations, quick reactions and decision-making, emotional stability - what are called soft skills," Paikin said.
"In addition, cybersport activities help to direct the relationship of young people with computer technology in a useful, constructive direction, to create a culture and safety of using computers.
"Some colleagues express concern that the popularisation of cybersport may contribute to the excessive involvement of children in computer games and, as a result, health problems.
"The impact of e-sports on the human body certainly needs to be investigated, but so far we do not have data, and it is premature to talk about negative health consequences.
"In my opinion, computer sports and gaming are not the same thing, they are different in content.
"A gamer just spends time in the game without any goals, the cybersportsman is constantly preparing for a competition or participating in it.
"For him, skills, mastery, good physical shape, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are important.
"In the process of training, he develops such personality traits as dedication and hard work, a willingness to overcome difficulties."