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Denmark's Prime Minister Plays 'Counter-Strike' With Pros, Announces National eSports Strategy

The Danish government has published an “eSports strategy” designed to grow eSports in the country.

by Nicole Carpenter
Apr 30 2019, 3:30pm

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Image: RFRSH Entertainment

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen got behind a keyboard and mouse today to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with Denmark-based eSports team Astralis. Rasmussen’s been a vocal supporter of eSports for some time now—in November, he kicked off the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Blast Pro Series tournament in Copenhagen—but his latest move is part of larger initiative with Denmark’s Ministry of Culture.

On April 27, the Ministry of Culture in Denmark said in a press release it’s interested in establishing “a good framework” for eSports, ensuring that the industry grows and encourages further development in the space. And part of that is breaking stereotypes about gamers in Denmark, promoting a fuller view of what professional players are actually doing.

“Lots of youngsters are into gaming,” Rasmussen said in a video clip provided to Motherboard. “According to statistics, I think it’s 96 percent of all Danish boys [are] playing at least twice a week. And they are in the cellars and the rooms behind closed doors and parents are thinking, ‘What are they actually doing?’ [Parents] can look at Astralis and see that gaming is about meeting people in real life. It’s about good sleeping habits [and] nutrition. It’s about physical activity.”

The Danish government will create an “eSports panel” that ensures the integrity of eSports as a way to combat cheating and other illegal operations. Earlier in April, Danish gambling authority Spillemyndigheden successfully blocked 25 gaming and skin gambling websites, according to eSports Insider.

Rasmussen did more than just play video games with the Astralis crew during the visit to the Danish eSports organization’s headquarters. Astralis CS:GO player Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander told Motherboard in an email the Prime Minister spent two hours chatting with the team, “sharing his thoughts and listening to what we have to say,” including the 20-minute session of CS:GO—an achievement that was “hard to comprehend” for the team.

“We’ve been through so much over the past two [to] three years that nothing really comes as a surprise anymore, but if we can contribute to making a difference for the gamers and eSports in general, we love to be a part of it,” Rossander said.

It’s a big part of what the team strives to do, “besides winning as many tournaments as possible,” Rossander added. And the team’s certainly won a lot of tournaments. Astralis is easily one of the most competitive teams in CS:GO, having won first in two major events (and one second-place and another fifth) so far this year for a total of $675,000 in winnings in 2019.