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Is Spot the Ball legal?


  • August 05, 2020

Skill-based gaming has a deep-rooted social, commercial, and legal history. From major sports tournaments to classic board games, games of skill have long provided participants with an opportunity to compete based on one’s ability.

One such game is Spot the Ball; let’s see how it qualifies as a skilled game and not gambling.

This is because the generally accepted definition of gambling involves three specific things: (1) the reward of a prize, (2) participants pay to compete, and (3) a result determined on the basis of chance. Exclusive of all three of these elements, a competition that rewards real prizes is not gambling. In the case of competitions that are associated with Spot the Ball, outcomes are not determined by chance but are instead achieved through a player’s ability or skill, making it legal.

"In Spot the Ball, skill serves to be the determining factor in the outcome of the game"

How is Spot the Ball different from chance-based games?

Spot the Ball requires mental ability and a learned capacity to carry out a result. Skilled games such as this commonly include the use of the tactic, strategy, physical coordination, technical expertise, strength, or knowledge.

Chance-based games are those with an outcome strongly influenced by uncertainty or random chance. Common randomization devices include playing cards, dice, or numbered balls picked out from a container.

In Spot the Ball, skill serves to be the determining factor in the outcome of the game, and its format allows a skilled player to have a consistent advantage over a non-skilled competitor, unlike chance-based games. 

Therefore, Spot the Ball does not require licenses/regulations, etc. in order to operate. This gives it an edge over other games that require licenses to run or have to undergo the predominance test to be declared legal. Under this test, one must visualize a continuum with pure skill on one end and pure chance on the other. On the continuum, games like chess would be almost at the end that stands for pure skill, while traditional slot machines would be at the other, pure chance end. Between the ends of the spectrum are many tasks that contain both elements of skill and chance. A game falls into the category of skilled games if it falls principally closer to the skill end of the continuum.


Having figured out the criteria for games to qualify as skill-based, let's go over their types.

Most skill-based games, or skilled games, fall into five categories:

  • Arcade games inculcate quick thinking and action. These games are generally fast-paced puzzle games.
  • Puzzle games rely on rationalization and require the user to solve particular types of puzzles. While not as sped up as arcade games, these games often come with a time limit.
  • Word games are puzzle games that employ word problems, like rearranging letters, to form words.
  • Trivia games put the user’s knowledge of trivia, in specific categories or in general, to test. 
  • Fantasy sports games depend on the participant’s ability to bring together the best group of players.
  • Card games are played with playing cards online and need good use of probability and other mathematical tactics.

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