Games of Skill vs. Games of Chance: Know the Difference

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One of the biggest controversies surrounding the gambling industry is whether or not a particular game is one of skill or chance, and why some are considered legal while others are not. The line between a game of skill and chance can be thin, making it difficult to categorize these games.

Games of Skill

A game of skill is determined mainly on the mental or physical level of expertise of the player, rather than chance. In skilled games, players can win based on their experience. One of the most significant benefits to a game of skill is it allows the players to explore their own capabilities in the sport, like how decent players usually win blackjack or poker games tournaments on These games encourage players to understand the rules while looking for ways to improve and implement different strategies. These games typically require practice outside of tournaments for a higher chance of success.

Games of Chance

A game of chance is determined mainly by a randomizer of any type. In games of chance, the player often wagers money by selecting a number or by pressing a button and hoping to land on their selection of choice. Games like playing cards, roulette, dice, or picking a numbered ball are all considered chance-based games. Some games of chance could also include some level of skill, or are more skilled than chance but has a chance component. The difference between the two games is essential, because, in some countries, games of chance are illegal, whereas ones with a skill component are not. 

Games of chance have an older history than those based on skill because they’re easy to implement and to play. For example, animal bones have been used in games of chance since 3600 BC, while the six-sided dice dates back to 2000 BC. Dice are still used today and are considered a fundamental part of gambling. 

Game of Chance and Probability

Probability is interwoven with games of chance. In regards to dice, the probability of getting the number 7 with two 6-sided dice is 16.67% likely – the highest probability of any combination. However, getting a 2 or a 12 is only 2.78% likely. Therefore, it’s better to bet on getting 7s because there are 6 possible combinations for the number to occur – higher than any other number combination. So, even in certain games of chance, some combinations are more likely. This doesn’t just apply to dice. Getting a face card is more likely than getting a numbered card. 

Many scholars have studied probability in gambling and how it can improve your chances. Although some have called this “skill,” it doesn’t play a significant factor in whether or not a game is considered based on skill or chance.

Knowing the Difference

There are two main ways the government and casinos determine if a game is one of skill or chance. The first difference is who the player is playing against. If a player is playing against the house, as with slots, the game is considered one of chance. However, if a player is playing against other players, it is regarded as a game of skill. If a player can determine that a game involves strategies or skills like with statistics or math, the game could be categorized as skill-based. However, some confuse ‘lucky numbers’ with skill. 

Poker is the most debated casino game because both skill and chance play a significant role in determining a winner. Several websites and brick and mortar establishments have changed the game, so it fits into the skill category. For example, some new casino sites in India have eliminated the luck of the draw element and show all 5 cards immediately after the dealer gives players their cards. Now, the game is determined by whether or not the player is good at bluffing, or if the player has good cards. 

Although sports are considered skill-based, sports betting is illegal in many countries and throughout the USA. When betting, the player always bets against the house, and the player has no say on the outcome of the match. Therefore, it’s not possible to bet on sports events if the country or state enforcing these rules consider chance-based games illegal.