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Games of Chance vs. Games Of Skill Lawyers

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Why Does It Matter?

Whether a game is a game of chance or a game of skill can determine whether or not it is legal in many states. Many states allow people to pay money to participate in games of skill, but forbid them from paying to enter games of chance.

What Are Games of Skill and Games of Chance?

Games of skill and games of chance are often not all that noticeably different. Oftentimes, a game will have elements of both chance and skill. Whether it is a game of chance or a game of skill will often depend on which element is the dominant factor in determining the outcome of the game. Skill can include any of the following:

  • A learned or developed ability
  • Strategy, or tactic
  • Physical coordination or strength
  • Technical expertise
  • Knowledge of the means of accomplishing a task

What Are Some Common Games of Skill?

There are several games of skill on which it is legal to bet. Some of the most common types include:

  • Certain card games such as gin rummy or mah jong
  • Pool
  • Darts
  • Fantasy sports leagues

Does Every State Allow People to Gamble on Games of Skill?

No. Whether or not people can gamble on games of skill varies from state to state. Furthermore, the importance of the element of skill in determining the legality of a game varies by state. Some states require that skill be the deciding factor in the outcome of the game. Other states only require only that there be some small amount of skill involved in the game. Still other states do not take skill or chance into consideration at all.

Should I Consult a Lawyer?

If you have questions about the legality of games of skill or games of chance, you may want to contact a lawyer. A lawyer who is knowledgeable in gaming law will be able to answer your questions and offer advice regarding these types of games.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 11-09-2017 01:16 AM PST

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