Beijing, 3 Mar (Xinhua) -- It is strictly forbidden to accept minors in violation of regulations, and the three departments have begun to guide the healthy development of the e-sports hotel industry

Xinhua News Agency reporter

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and other three departments recently solicited opinions on strengthening the protection of minors in e-sports hotels, and proposed to stipulate that e-sports hotels are strictly prohibited from receiving minors in violation of regulations. The industry believes that with the implementation of prudent and inclusive industry regulations, the establishment of long-term synergy mechanisms by all parties, and the strengthening of self-discipline in the industry, e-sports hotels, a new format with service functions such as accommodation and e-sports entertainment, are expected to bid farewell to "barbaric growth" and usher in healthy and orderly development.

The esports hotel industry is growing rapidly

According to the Notice of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Office of the State Council Leading Group for the Protection of Minors on Strengthening the Protection of Minors in E-sports Hotels (Draft for Comments), e-sports hotels refer to new accommodation formats that provide consumers with e-sports entertainment services by setting up e-sports rooms, including professional e-sports hotels where all rooms are e-sports rooms and non-professional e-sports hotels that use some rooms to open e-sports room areas.

In recent years, China's e-sports hotel industry has developed rapidly. According to data from the e-sports hotel branch of the China Internet Service Industry Association, by the end of 2022, the number of e-sports hotels in the country has reached 2,<>.

Mr. Han, from Hubei Province, who stayed at an e-sports hotel in Shanghai's Changning District on business, said: "Playing e-sports at night is also a kind of relaxation. "This e-sports hotel has more than 40 rooms, including double, twin and multi-bed rooms, each of which will be equipped with a professional-grade computer. In addition to guests like Mr. Han, there are also multiple e-sports teams that have been training in this private room for several months, and the team members eat, drink and live here.

XU JUNMIN, BRAND MANAGER OF YUNIK HOTEL, A SUBSIDIARY OF BTITS HOMEINNS HOTEL GROUP, SAID THAT THE DECORATION COST OF A SINGLE ROOM IN AN ORDINARY HOTEL IS 8,10 TO 10,12 YUAN, and the decoration cost of a single room in a regular e-sports hotel is <>,<> to <>,<> yuan due to the high requirements of computer equipment. Because e-sports hotels have a large customer base, long time in the store, frequent secondary consumption such as snacks, drinks, and late-night snacks, and a shorter return on investment cycle, it has become one of the investment hotspots in recent years.

In the process of the explosive growth of e-sports hotels, some merchants entered the market in a non-compliant manner, disrupting the market order and damaging the image of the industry. Some homestays and even private residences carry out e-sports business without obtaining a business license, and use the Internet to attract customers to go online and spend the night, forming a potential safety hazard.

Minors entering e-sports hotels are frequent

In recent years, some e-sports hotels have become "Internet cafes in disguise". Under the circumstance that traditional Internet cafes have basically not accepted minors to enter, some e-sports hotels have the phenomenon of minors surfing the Internet without restrictions, playing online games, reading illegal content, etc., and even illegal and criminal cases have occurred, which has attracted widespread attention from the society.

There are 11 e-sports hotels in Zhuji, Zhejiang, with 190 e-sports rooms, 480 beds, and 480 Internet computers, and 2021,4593 minors will be accepted in <>. Qian Lulu, director of the Sixth Procuratorate Department of the Zhuji Municipal People's Procuratorate of Zhejiang Province, introduced that when e-sports hotels accept minors, the accommodation registration is not perfect, and there are frequent situations such as multiple people in one room and others opening on behalf of others, and there are also phenomena such as illegal sales of tobacco and alcohol that exceed the scope of business, which brings serious hidden dangers to the healthy growth of minors.

In May 2022, the Suqian Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu Province publicly heard a civil public interest lawsuit against the defendant Suqian Municipal People's Procuratorate against the defendant a hotel management company for the protection of minors who provided online services to minors. From March to June 5, the e-sports hotel admitted minors to the hotel with more than 2021 records. During the investigation, the investigators found that the hotel even used methods to circumvent inspections and did not upload the situation of minors staying in the system.

Wang Yiqin, deputy director of the Guanyinqiao Police Station of the Jiangbei District of the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau, said that in actual operation, it cannot be ruled out that there are adults who use their ID cards to help minors turn on the computer; Or after the adult has checked in, the minor who has not checked in will be admitted to the room.

In addition, some third-party companies set up billboards and distribute flyers in e-sports hotels to provide sparring services. Wang Yiqin said: "It is also necessary to be vigilant that sparring partners may be illegally harmed. ”

Combined with local practical experience, e-sports hotels are places that are not suitable for minors' activities, and the supervision of e-sports hotels in accepting minors must be strengthened.

Inclusive and prudent supervision guides the healthy and orderly development of the industry

The Draft proposes that e-sports hotel operators must not allow minors to enter the e-sports room areas of professional e-sports hotels and non-professional e-sports hotels. E-sports hotels shall set up signs prohibiting minors from entering, and e-sports hotel operators shall clearly inform consumers that minors are not accepted in the e-sports room area during the process of consumer reservation and check-in. E-commerce platform operators shall verify the e-sports hotel prompts, and must not allow minors to book e-sports rooms with their ID cards. Each provincial-level administrative department for culture and tourism shall, in conjunction with the public security organs, deploy and carry out a thorough investigation of e-sports hotels.

"If the above regulations are effectively implemented, it can allow minors to form an effective 'physical isolation' from e-sports hotels and e-sports rooms, thereby reducing the risk of their addiction to the Internet." Wu Liyun, associate professor at the China Culture and Tourism Industry Research Institute of Beijing Second Foreign Chinese University, said.

Experts interviewed said that to implement relevant policies, it is necessary to clarify the division of responsibilities and build a long-term mechanism. Local administrative departments for culture and tourism, public security organs, and leading groups (committees) for the protection of minors at all levels shall, in conjunction with relevant departments, establish coordinated oversight mechanisms for the protection of minors in e-sports hotels, strengthening efforts such as information notification, transfer of leads, and linkage in law enforcement. Relevant industry associations of e-sports hotels shall strengthen industry self-discipline and guide operators to strictly implement the relevant provisions of the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Minors.

It is understood that the Zhuji procuratorate has developed the "digital supervision application of e-sports hotels", using hotel accommodation registration data, online registration data and other collision comparisons to make early warnings for minors' online behavior. Chongqing police require e-sports hotels not to set up relevant sparring business advertisements, and report to the public security organs as soon as they find drunk women staying and long-term room openings, so as to reduce the safety risks of e-sports hotels as much as possible. A number of e-sports hotels are already exploring the introduction of technical means to identify and authenticate occupants and Internet users.

During the drafting process, it is not recommended to characterize e-sports hotels as Internet access service business sites, first, existing e-sports hotels generally do not comply with the provisions that Internet access service business venues are not allowed to operate from 0:8 to <>:<>, and it is forbidden to lock doors and windows during business hours, and it is difficult to obtain an online culture business license.

Wu Liyun believes that this reflects China's tolerance and prudence for new business formats, and will guide and promote the healthy and orderly development of the e-sports hotel industry. (Xinhuanet reporters Chen Aiping, Zhou Wenchong, Wu Shuaishuai, Xiong Lin)