Skill-based Games: Why Are They Different From Chance Gambling?

The popularity of traditional casinos seems to be ending but not with online casinos. The online gambling industry is able to target so many new players from all over the world and according to what Statista reports, the online gambling market is expected to grow up to $94.4 billion by 2023. Now gambling can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who have had difficulties with accessing traditional casinos. Nowadays, they don’t even need to go out of their comfortable room. The success of such great gambling related sites like https://slotogate.com/ in attracting so many new players is a major indication that this market continues to grow rapidly.

Skill-based Games: Why Are They Different FromChance Gambling?

While online gambling is widely spread as well as many traditional casino games, but skill-based casino games are an underrated type of gambling activities. Moreover, many of us are still confused about the definition of “games which involve skills” and even use it interchangeably with “games which involve chance”. Below we will discuss what are skill-based casino games, how they are evaluated from the legal perspective and their development in the near future. So, keep reading!

What are Gaming Skills?

Actually every game requires special skills, but what is meant by gaming skills only appeared in the early 2000s. Skill gaming is founded on physical and cognitive skills. Usually, gaming skills have a goal to get the final prize in the form of a certain amount of money.

Here Are Popular Skill-based Games: 

  • Poker
  • Chess
  • Backgammon
  • Dominoes

Popular Video Skill Games:

  • League of Legends
  • World of Tanks
  • Clash of Clans
  • Tonk

While gambling is a type of gaming activity that purely relies on chance. No special skills are needed here, therefore, for many people gambling is riskier. However, because there is no clear regulation that separates the two, many gaming skills providers are under tremendous pressure regarding legality.

Debates on the Legality

In the United States, there are only 12 US states that allow online gambling (among them are California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia). Each state has different gambling regulatory peculiarities. While in Europe, the countries there have different regulations, although on some basic points, it is regulated by the European Commission as a liaison between cross-border gambling regulatory bodies.

In the context of skill gaming, many states in the United States consider most skill gaming to be a form of gambling. However, the difference between the two is very real. There have been many cases where courts have struggled to determine the difference between the two, and as a result, certain states have imposed concessions. For example, Florida prohibits and punishes whoever who play games of skill with stakes, bets or wagers, as well as games of chance (see here The 2021 Florida Statues, Chapter 849.14).

Other states use certain tests to standardize characteristics of skill play. However, they all have the same “in common” in standardizing, in the sense that the categories they define are relatively the same. The following are the three stages of standardization applied:

  • Does a game really depend on chance? Or vice versa on skills?
  • Is opportunity a material element?
  • Isn’t there luck involved?

The three stages of standardization above are used to determine whether a game is a game of skill or just ordinary gambling.

Despite the controversies and differences between countries, gaming skill providers are still struggling to open merchant accounts. Of course, this difficulty is caused by the difficulty of obtaining a license from the government, especially when they struggle to get an account at the bank that acquires and repairs the Merchant Category Code (MCC).

We can’t but mention about the recent judicial proceedings against GotSkill Games (provided by SBG) and its further prohibition to operate in about 200 pubs of Ontario, Canada. Being a rather “game of skill” GotSkill was eventually banned, although the “games of skill” aren’t prohibited to operate across Canada. So, what was the reason for ban? The thing is that the liquor licensing laws of Ontario ban games in liquor licensed premises.

Whether it was right decision or not, but in some obstacles skill-based games still experience difficulties in Canada.

The Future of Skill-based Gambling

No one may doubt that predicting the future is a truly thankless task. Nevertheless, the popularity of skill-based games, for example slots, are constantly increasing among both millennials who play in online casinos and casino software developers. For instance, GameCo, Inc., who specializes of Video Gambling Machines (VGMs), won a license in July, 2020, from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which allows them to produce a large assortment of new casino products, including skill-based iGaming games.

As they said the reason for that were an “endeavor to attract the next generation of gamers to the casino floor” and an attempt to “provide Gen X and Millennial gamers with an engaging opportunity to gamble playing video games at the casino”.

Considering all the aforementioned, there are reasons to believe that this event will give a push to the skill-based genre of casino games in the near future. The development of the type of games will encourage the new generation of active players to gamble from time to time in online casinos in the iGaming dimension, where they will enjoy dozens of free online table games and have a great time.

In Conclusion

Although the categorization between gaming and gambling skills is often ambiguous, there is a hope that in the future there will be an accurate understanding between gamblers of what is what. Today, the number of providers of gaming skills is increasing, and this is an indication that the atmosphere surrounding this industry is getting brighter.


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