How do Games of Chance and Games of Skill Differ?

Home » Recent Posts » How do Games of Chance and Games of Skill Differ?
Share this on:

Brian Christopher thinking

Brian Christopher often says that slots are not skill games, but instead games of chance. A player asks a helpful question for those who aren’t sure:

What is the difference between a “game of chance” and a “game of skill”?


Casino floors feature both games of chance and games of skill. Traditionally in the casino sense, games of skill feature elements that your own specific game decisions can have an impact on the overall outcome of a game.

Blackjack and video poker are great examples of this. Playing proper strategy, worked out by those savvy at math who can do the calculations, is how you guarantee the optimal payback percentage over time. Deviating from those strategies on hunches will, over time, yield worse results vs. optional strategy.

Games of chance, on the other hand, have no element that through proper strategy can yield an improvement in payout. Tradtional slot machines and roulette are two examples of games that work this way.

A few years back skill-based games attempted to make their way onto the casino floor. They took two forms – traditional slots with skill-based bonus games (such as Space Invaders or Pinball), or truly skill-based games, such as word games or card games.

Many of these attempts ultimately weren’t successful – the pandemic disrupted the development of many of these options. One company, Next Gaming, has been able to keep moving forward, with updated skill games showcased recently.

Part of the reason these terms have gained prominence in recent years is there’s a growing number of states where machines outside of casinos are being challenged legally as violating state law, but the companies are countering that they’re not games of chance, but games of skill. An example has been playing out in Virginia.

These slot-like games of skill are different in that they incorporate elements like nudging or where to place a wild to line up pays, saying knowing what to do on each spin is therefore a game of skill. Ultimately, whether the ability to nudge for a payout is still completely controlled by chance. Certainly this is the same for video poker, where you can play properly but ultimately the cards you need to win have to still come out of the deck.

So that’s really the determining factor – games of skill have some aspect that require knowledge and playing best practices to maximize your opportunity, where games of chance have no skill-based elements.

Have a question? Submit yours here!

Share this on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Play Online Casinos

Sign Up with BetMGM Casino and get a Deposit Match up to $1,000, plus $25 in Site Credits on the house! Available in MI, NJ, PA & WV. US promotional offers not valid in Ontario.

Use code SWITCH2500 for a 100% deposit match up to $2,500, and 2,500 Reward Credits, with $25+ in wagers placed (MI, NJ, PA & WV).

New sign-ups with DraftKings Casino in MI, NJ, PA & WV will receive $35 Casino Credits, plus Play $5 and Get $50 Back in Casino Credits Instantly!

Sign Up and deposit $10+ at FanDuel to get a Welcome Offer of a $20 Bonus + Up to $1,000 Play it Again based on your net losses in the first 24 hours in MI, NJ, PA & WV!

Play Social Casinos

Ready to give Show Me Vegas Slots a try? Get 10 million coins to play Show Me Vegas Slots with promo code SWITCH!

New players to 88 Fortunes Slots receive 5 billion coins as a thank you for signing up!

Sign Up and get a Welcome Bonus of 2,000,000 FREE Gold Coins & 2 FREE Sweeps Coins. Get started today!

Sign Up for LuckyLand Slots and get a Welcome Bonus of 7,777 FREE Gold Coins & 10 FREE Sweeps Coins!

Online Game Spotlight
Double Patriot

Classic Everi Three-Reel Slot with a Fresh Twist

Play Online Sportsbooks

Sign Up to get a Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins!

Use code SWITCH1000 to get your first bet back in Bonus Bets, up to $1,000, if you lose.

​SIGN UP to get $150 instantly in Bonus Bets* (NC, $5+ bet required) or up to $1500 in Bonus Bets* Back if Your First Bet Doesn't Win (All Other Eligible States)!

New Players get a $1,500 No Sweat Bet, a $50 Bonus Bet with $5 deposit, & Get a No Sweat NBA SGP Every Day of NBA Playoffs! New players outside MA also get 20% Match up to $1,000 (25x PTR).

Social Game Spotlight
Kronos Unleashed Slot

Frequent Feature Livens Up Super Tall Reels

Dragons vs. Pandas Slot Machine

Two Sets of Reels Battle it Out