Lithuania Grants Poker Official Sport StatusPublished April 11, 2010 by OCR Editor
Ruling paves the way for poker to grow in popularity in the Baltic state.
Poker has won a major victory in the eastern European country of Lithuania by being recognized there as an official sport.
The Department of Physical Education and Sports, which is the official ruling body for sports in the country, issued a decree on March 20 recognizing the Lithuanian Sports Poker Federation as an official sports federation.
The ruling means the LSPF will be able to organize non-commercial poker tournaments outside of casinos, which means everybody can enjoy the activity.
LSPF President Andrius Tapinas applauded the ruling, calling it an "extremely important step in our work.
"We are receiving congratulations from many of our colleagues abroad and I know that we are breaking thick ice with our progress for similar international initiatives."
The next move the LSPF will take is to present an official tournament schedule local media, which will help give the sport the boost it deserves.
Poker is already in a unique position to grow in Lithuania given Tapinas' celebrity status; he is the presenter of the country's most popular business TV show and his participation in World Series of Poker and Unibet Open tournament have been covered on the front pages of Lithuania's main daily newspapers.
His organization was also recently granted member status by the International Federation of Poker, the roof body for national poker bodies.
The inaugural tournament hosted by the Lithuanian Sports Poker Federation will begin on April 24 in the capital Vilnius.