UK gambling website CircusCasino.com is trying to lobby for poker to become an Olympic sport by the year 2016. This announcement comes after CircusCasino.com has been putting out Internet ads about the possibility of poker as an Olympic sport. The plan is to have poker become an exhibition sport in the 2012 London Olympic Games and a medal sport in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo, or Rio de Janeiro.
Peter Nolan, a spokesperson for CircusCasino.com, believes poker deserves Olympic status and said, “Poker’s appeal is global. It transcends gender and age and is the fastest growing sport in the world. It’s ripe for Olympic recognition.”
But while Nolan thinks poker has the makings of an Olympic sport, he also acknowledges that there are other sports which will probably get in before poker. Women’s softball is one such sport since it was eliminated from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and could be reinstated as early as 2012. Men’s baseball, women’s netball, and cricket are three more sports that are thought to have a better chance than poker at becoming Olympic contests.
If poker is to officially be recognized as an Olympic sport, the game will have to have an international governing body for rule setting purposes. Another requirement which poker needs to meet before becoming an Olympic sport is the game must be played by men in at least 75 countries and by women in at least 50 countries; many believe that poker already meets this requirement since it is widely played on four of the world’s continents.
Another question poker needs to answer to attain Olympic status is what countries the top players would represent. Many of the best international players have made their home in the United States and some of these people have even attained US citizenship.
The move by CircusCasino.com to try and get poker instated in the Olympic Games could be the most serious attempt to do so by any organization or business. In the past, Full Tilt Poker ran some small promotions featuring the slogan “USA Poker Team”, but it was never enough to push poker into Olympic status.
As of right now, the International Olympic Committee has no plans to add poker as an Olympic sport, but all that could change within the next 4 – 8 years. It is already speculated that the 2009 Olympic Congress will see two new sports added to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.