Friday, February 13, 2015

Skill-based betting, coming to NJ

Very exciting news coming out of Atlantic City today...I know, normally that means there's a serial killer on the loose, but today it's for an entirely legitimate reason.

A casino there is finally opening the door to skill-based wagering...specifically, physical skill-based wagering.

Skill-based wagering is different from your standard casino games. Whereas those games are ones of mathematical certainty and based in no way on a player's ability (e.g., a roulette table where the fall of the ball is random), skill-based wagers come in games where the players can actually control the outcome.

Poker is the most popular example in casino gaming today, but what's interesting is a casino testing out a different, more physical, wagering opportunity:

Executives at The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa told The Associated Press on Friday that they've gotten permission from New Jersey gambling regulators to host a basketball contest next month in which players shoot free throws for money.

"This is a first step, something we've never been able to do until now," said Joe Lupo, the casino's senior vice president. "A year from now, you'll probably see a lot more of these skill-based tournaments or even games on the casino floor."

That's right, free throw shooting contests for money!

Now it's not surprising to see an Atlantic City casino try some new angles to drum up business. Ever since other states realized they could get some quick cash by putting up casinos, and ever since people realized AC is a pit, the city has been bleeding gambling dollars like crazy.

So it's nice to see an experiment, especially one where players actually can control their outcome. Players mostly take each others money, and the casino gets a small rake for its trouble.

Now, while I love the idea of a free throw shooting contest for money, I'd never EVER actually pay to play in one. But I'd certainly watch it...and it got me thinking, what other games of physical skill could we put in casinos???

Skeeball - Yes, just rip the machines straight out of the boardwalk arcades down in Ocean City and haul them into the AC casinos. I would absolutely play against other people in Skeeball. The trick is to forget about the 100 point circles. Avoid their siren song at all costs! Just play nice and easy and bang out 50 point throws. Only downside of this is that my wife would routinely beat me.

Super Chexx Hockey - Again, if this could be played for real money, they'd eventually have to stage an intervention for me. An important caveat, the only true version of this game is the US vs. USSR edition. It's the only one where there feels like real geopolitical consequences. None of this Canada vs. US crap. Americans and Soviets is the only one to play.

Speed Pitch - I'm not sure this is actually a good idea, I'm just putting it out there for my friend who's a sports orthopedist. He could use a pool at his summer house.

There's a whole litany of carnival games which should also be included here. Ring toss, dart throw, milk bottle throw. You could put them all in the casino and have us compete against each other...which means you could finally stop rigging all the games! It would also be extremely easy to replace the shady carnies with shady would just be a new shirt.

But they'd all be fun to bet money on. Finally, I've saved the best for last...

Tell me you wouldn't put $20 down on a best of three...tell me you wouldn't....if you say you wouldn't, you're a liar. I would play this in a casino...hell, I would pay to watch this in a casino.

Atlantic City, you've already gotten us started, just take it a little further. Please?

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