Online skill-based game
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Online skill-based games are online games in which the outcome of the game is determined by the player's physical skill (like fast reaction or dexterity) or mental skill (logic abilities, strategic thinking, trivia knowledge). As in off-line games of skill, the definition has legal meaning, as playing games of chance for money is an illegal act in several countries.
Most skill-based games, or skillgames, fall into four categories:
- Arcade games involve quick fingers and quick thinking. These games are generally sped-up puzzle games. Arcade skillgames include Collapse and Mini-Golf.
- Puzzle games rely on logic abilities and require the user to solve certain types of puzzles. While not as fast-paced as arcade games, these games often come with a time limit. Popular puzzle games include Bejeweled and HexTwist.
- Word games are basically puzzle games using word problems, like rearranging letters to make words. Popular word games include Bookworm and Alphabet Soup.
- Trivia games test the user's knowledge of trivia in specific categories or in general.
- Fantasy sport games rely on the participants ability to assemble the best group of players.
Another useful way to broadly categorize skill games is to divide them into games that require physical skill and dexterity (such as arcade games) and games that require mental skill and strategy (such as backgammon).
Around 2000, Disney invested millions in a new online skill-based game company called Skillgames.com (formerly PureSkill.com). Manhattan-based Skillgames, with endorsements by Disney-owned properties such as ESPN and ABC, was to develop skill-based games such as "Hole-In-One Golf," "Soap Opera Trivia" and others implemented as Java applets on their site. Players could win prizes up to a million dollars their first time playing. Skillgames, the brainchild of Walker Digital, also the parent company of Priceline.com, fell on hard times in 2001. Congress had begun to threaten a crack-down on Internet gambling, and although the company was confident of the distinction between games of skill and games of chance, Disney decided to withdraw its investment. Skillgames management announced a business model change in late spring of 2001 and rounds of layoffs followed. After Skillgames was forced by the September 11 attacks to relocate from its offices in Manhattan's Woolworth Building, the company failed to define a new direction, eventually going out of business in November 2001.
The first commercial launches of major skillgame sites in the US occurred in late 2000 when both WorldWinner and SkillJam (previously known as EGamesGroup) released the first versions of their respective online skill game systems.
In 2002 several large US-based portals, including MSN and Yahoo integrated SkillJam's and WorldWinner's services into their game platforms, thereby providing the first major distribution channels for wider skill game adoption.
King.com, the world’s largest online skills-game site, was launched in 2003. In January 2009, more than 350 million games were played at King.com, which is available in nine languages. King has featured the skill-game versions of such TV shows as "American Idol," "The Biggest Loser," "Deal or No Deal" and "1 vs.100."
Following the success of poker sites, online casinos such as Casino On Net and GoldenPalace.com learned that users want to play against each other instead of the house, and attempted to launch skill-based game sites in 2004 and 2005 with mixed results.
Several efforts have been made to include poker under the definition of game of skill to legalize internet poker in the US. On May 26, 2007, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act and on June 7, 2207, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced H.R. 2607, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act. In 2009, both Frank and McDermott reintroduced modified versions of these bills. In combination, these bills would legalize and regulate online gambling.
In August 2009, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) proposed the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act, suggesting to license and regulate online poker and online skill-based games such as backgammon, bridge and mahjong in the US.
In April 2013, Betonline.ag launched a real money skill game room. Their game room includes Yahtzee, Tonk, Gin Rummy, Spades and Dominoes. Betonline is the only gambling site for offer real money skill games to Americans. 
Supporters of online skill-based game legalization and regulation include the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, which believes “the government should regulate Internet gambling to ensure proper consumer protections are in place”
Like poker sites, skillgame sites take a rake from head-to-head and tournament games, but unlike casino games or games of chance, the outcome of a skill game is predominantly determined by the user's skill level.
Successful skill games heavily modify the game play of "regular" casual games such as Solitaire or Sudoku in order to remove as many random events as possible. The analogy is that the influence of chance in a skill game should not exceed the influence of chance in any other pro sport competition, such as golf or football.
- Gaming for Money: Online Games of Skill, Dave Spohn, about.com. Accessed on line December 22, 2007.
- Senator Menendez to Introduce Online Poker Legislation on Thursday Cypra Dan for Poker Daily News August 5, 2009
- Betonline.ag Launches Real Money Skill Game Room For Americans BetAMU.org Gambling News April, 2013
- Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
- pp. 49–50, 2003 IGDA Online Games White Paper, IGDA. Accessed on line December 22, 2007.