The Legality of Skill Gaming
Skill-based gaming has a well-established legal, social and commercial history. From classic board games to major sports tournaments, games of skill have long offered participants a chance to compete based on one’s ability. Today, games of skill are available on most major media sites like AOL, MSN, and Yahoo, and are complemented by an emerging electronic sports (eSports) industry that lets professional gamers compete in popular video games with real money at stake.
PlayTKD is a platform that advances this trend, enabling skill-based multiplayer contests on mobile devices while offering gamers the ability to compete for real prizes. Games powered by PlayTKD take the clear distinction as being games of skill -- and not games of chance -- a difference which makes PlayTKD contests or tournaments legal in the majority of the United States.
Are Skill-based Tournaments Gambling?
Cash-based contests or tournaments in games of skill are not considered gambling because the generally accepted definition of gambling involves three specific things: (1) the award of a prize, (2) paid-in consideration (meaning entrants pay to compete) and (3) an outcome determined on the basis of chance. Without all three of these elements, a competition that reward real prizes is not gambling. In the case of PlayTKD contests or tournaments, outcomes are not determined by chance, but are rather achieved through a player’s skill or ability, making these tournaments legal in most U.S. states.
How are skill-based games different from chance-based games?
Games of skill require a physical or mental ability and a learned capacity to carry out a result. These games commonly include the use of strategy, tactic, physical coordination, strength, technical expertise, or knowledge. Games of chance are games with an outcome strongly influenced by random chance or uncertainty. Common randomization devices include dice, playing cards, or numbered balls drawn from a container. Games of chance may have some skill, and games of skill may have some chance, however, most U.S. courts use either the predominance test or the material element test to look at the role that skill and chance each take in determining the outcome of the game.
The Predominance Test
The predominance test is the most commonly used indicator of whether a game is skill- or chance-based. Under this test, one must envision a continuum with pure skill on one end and pure chance on the other. On the continuum, games such as chess would be almost at the pure skill end, while traditional slot machines would be at the pure chance end. Between these ends of the spectrum lie many activities containing both elements of skill and chance. A game is classified as a game of skill if the game falls predominantly closer to the skill end of the continuum.
The Material Element Test
The material element test is the second most commonly used test in the U.S. and is relied upon by 8 states to evaluate whether a game is skill or chance based. The test asks the question of whether chance plays a material role in determining a game’s outcome. As an example, in games like Minesweeper, a great deal of skill is generally exercised by players, but there are moments when players are forced to guess at random, with the results of that guess determining the winner and loser of the game. Skill predominates but chance plays the material role in determining the game’s outcome.
Where does PlayTKD offer real prize competitions?
In the U.S., the legality of skill-based competitions is determined at a state level and PlayTKD has taken extensive measures to ensure that its products are in full compliance with all the applicable laws. As of today, PlayTKD powers real prize competitions in roughly 80% of the world and 45 US states - the exceptions being Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, and South Dakota.
What happens if someone logs in from a place where real prize gaming is not legal?
For states where skill-based real prize gaming is not allowed, a player who logs in to PlayTKD will still be able to compete in virtual currency contests or tournaments. PlayTKD uses the built-in GPS in a player’s smartphone in order to determine location and eligibility to play for real prizes.
Is your game a game of skill?
Is skill the determining factor in the outcome of the game?Are tiebreakers handled based on skill?Does the game’s format allow a skilled player to have a consistent advantage over a non-skilled competitor?Is the game free of important decisions that can be made only by guessing?Are there defined rules without predetermined odds of success?Are random events removed as much as possible?
PlayTKD provides a forum for safe, friendly, and competitive entertainment with monetary stakes tied to the competition of players at all levels. PlayTKD operates in full compliance with U.S. Federal and State laws, verifying the residency of anyone seeking to open an account and using IP address as well as other location-based services to determine a player’s eligibility for real prize competition.
All gamers must be at least 18 years old and their device location settings must be enabled to ensure PlayTKD Real Money eligibility.