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U.S. pushes to make online gambling an Olympic sport

04, Jan 2014 By cortgordner

Currently, there are 15 official winter Olympic sports in which athletes can compete. Several major nonprofit groups in the U.S. would like to have 16. The addition would be the induction of online gambling in the Olympic Games. In fact, officials have received quite a few petitions for this change, and the Amateur Online Gamblers of America will be submitting the signatures to the International Olympic Committee for consideration.

The 23,000-long list of signatures was collected on Facebook by groups, such as 3 a.m. Gamblers, the PocketChange cLuB and the Lost Shirt Society. Several members of Congress have also stepped forward in a bipartisan effort for the change, such as Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada.

“I think this will be excellent for the Olympics, because online gambling takes commitment, stamina and luck … just like in Curling,” said Reid.

According to Ryan: “The world is becoming more digital, so it makes sense for a digital world to accept digital sports. Why should the Olympics be any different? Besides, it would be great for America’s economy for the world to hear about the new online casinos we’ve been setting up on Capitol Hill.”

The online casino sites Ryan mentioned were launched in 2005 as a way for government leaders in Washington, D.C., to relax and have fun between meetings. However, it was noted that several members of Congress have had to sell their cars, their homes and even their special health-insurance plans in order to fund their online gambling hobby.

“We’ve been trying to just beat tax money out of people before … then we said, ‘well, why don’t we just let them gamble it to us?’” said Reid.

In June 2013, the Online Gambling Revenue & Tax Act was approved by Congress, and those gambling websites became available to the public. The revenue from these U.S. government-owned gambling sites would go to help balance the nation’s budget.

In December 2013, the U.S. Congressional Budget Committee reported that the site had brought in $47 billion since June. While this may not be enough to completely balance the infamous U.S. budget woes, it certainly is seen as a start.

The UN Takes Note

The UN was involved in an academic study of the OGRTA since June, and they have been astounded by the amount of revenue raised in such a short time. It has even considered creating its own online gambling websites in hopes of raising funds for several of their organizations.

The UN has been actively involved in approaching the IOC in inducting online gambling into the winter and summer games, saying that it would “spread awareness about the benefits,” as stated in a published report.

While the IOC has been reluctant to even consider it as a possibility, John William Ashe, president of the UN General assembly, stated, “I don’t know why the committee is not thinking this is a good idea. They say they don’t get the point. I don’t get the point of curling. It’s like shuffleboard, but only harder.”

According to several contributors and geo-political analysts, the consensus appears to be that the UN would like to use online gambling in the Olympics as a way to advertise for their website. They also suspect that the Amateur Online Gamblers of America is actually a UN-run organization.

History of ‘Digital Games’

Many are skeptical that the IOC will budge on the issue, due to their previous stances on other digital games proposals. Because they have taken a dogmatic position that the Olympics are for games to be played in the real world, they have been fairly quick to shoot down these ideas.

For instance, in 2007 several high-up members of the U.S. military pitched a proposal to the IOC to make ‘Drone Hockey’ an official Olympic game. While it would certainly be a spectacle for those in the Western world, many in the Middle East would not find such a game amusing.

Also, the game developer company Blizzard decided to pitch the idea of virtual Olympic Games inside the World of Warcraft in 2009. However, the IOC was accused of discrimination, because its stance was that only humans were allowed to compete, according to the official release. Several of the digital athletes were elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs, animals, trolls and the undead. The lawsuit against the IOC is still pending.

The Blizzard Twitter feed posted last September, “I don’t get it. They allow curling … why can’t elves compete? Those n00bs.”