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State of Pennsylvania declares an esports month

Neslyn A. February 26, 2019

The state of Pennsylvania is looking to be among the first to embrace the esports industry.

The state’s House Memorandum 66 was recently passed to declare February as the official month of esports in Pennsylvania.

In the Memorandum, author Representative Ryan Bizzarro said that nurturing the esports industry will provide more scholarship opportunities for Pennsylvania students.

Local organization PA Esports Coalition recently announced the state’s first annual esports day at the state capitol in Harrisburg.

During the event, Harrisburg University announced an esports event titled the PA Cup. The tournament will include 16 teams competing in different competitive game including League of Legends, Overwatch, and Hearthstone.

The tournament will begin March 30, with a live watch party taking place at the Whitaker Center on March 31.

Harrisburg University successfully launched the HUE Festival last year to celebrate competitive gaming. The school hosted a music festival combined with esports tournaments for Overwatch and League of Legends players.

"I never thought that this region would be one of the ones on the forefront of esports. So to have an event like HUE festival, to have an event like PA Cup, and to have it here and to see everyone standing here in different esports is really surreal and it's something that I'm very proud of,” said Chad Smletz, esports program director at Harrisburg University.

Along with the House Memorandum 66, a bill was also passed by representative Christopher Quinn introducing legislation that would assess a 10% sales tax on video games that contain “violent material.”

The legislation, House Bill 109, includes a 10% sin tax that will be used to provide additional funding for school safety enhancements. Quinn believes school violence can be triggered by violent material children come in contact with through playing video games.

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