Online skill-based game

Online skill-based games are online games that allow users to compete for money. These games differ from gambling in that the games are based on skill rather than chance. These games are usually browser-based games.


Most skill-based games, or skillgames, fall into four categories:

  1. Arcade games involve quick fingers and quick thinking. These games are basically sped-up puzzle games. Arcade skillgames include Collapse and Mini-Golf.
  2. 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.
  3. Word games are basically puzzle games using word problems, like rearranging letters to make words. Popular word games include Bookworm and Alphabet Soup.
  4. Trivia games test the user's knowledge of trivia in specific categories or in general.


Around 2000, Disney invested millions in a new online skill-based game company called (formerly 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, 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.

Following the success of poker sites, online casinos such as Casino On Net and 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.


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.


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