According to the statutes of most US states and US Federal statutes, gambling is defined as:
risking something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance.
At GameColony we offer Games of Skill only.
Here's how 2 different US courts have ruled regarding our most popular Games of Skill: Gin Rummy and Backgammon declaring them a non-gambling games of skill:
Also see: US President G. Bush and Karl Rove Playing Gin Rummy
Is Playing Games at GameColony.com Legal?
Yes, absolutely legal!
Since its inception in 1999, GameColony.com has operated in full compliance with US Federal and State Laws. Skill games have always been legal in the states in which GameColony.com offers them.
GameColony.com games are no different from carnival games, chess and golf tournaments or other skill-based games that have been played for cash or prizes in the offline world for hundreds of years -- we've just taken them online.
GameColony's fee-based tournaments do not constitute gambling because they involve predominantly skill, as opposed to chance, and are designed as interactive online entertainment for adults. Participation is restricted to individuals of legal age in their respective jurisdiction. Players must also meet criteria for location eligibility in order to participate - please see our Terms and Conditions for full details.
The newest US Federal legislation of September 30, 2006 -- H.R.4411 "Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006" Sec. 5362 defines illegal betting or wagering as including "the purchase of a chance or opportunity to win a lottery or other prize (which opportunity to win is predominantly subject to chance)".
The new Federal legislation includes a specific allowance for online competitions in games of skill, such as those offered by GameColony.com, to continue in the US states in which they have always been legal (please see our Terms and Conditions).
The reality is that skill gaming is in the same position it was in before the bill -- it is still legal in the majority of US States. The new bill does not change the definition of gambling or the legality of skill games.
"If skill games are not unlawful under applicable state or Federal law, then they are not unlawful under this Act. The sponsors of this legislation repeatedly asserted that nothing in this Act converts currently legal activities to unlawful activities," stated Anthony Cabot, an attorney with the Las Vegas law firm of Lewis and Roca who is considered to be a leading authority on legal gaming.
The outcome of all GameColony.com games is based predominantly upon the players' skill, not chance. This is in sharp contrast to lotteries or bingo games typically found in casinos, where every player ultimately faces the same random odds. Even with games where chance has some role in the outcome of the contest, such as solitaire, GameColony.com has engineered all its games such that the outcome is predominantly based on the player's skill. For example, GameColony.com levels the playing field by providing each player within the tournament with hands of cards of equal difficulties so the winner is ultimately determined by how quickly and skillfully each player approaches the game. While every GameColony solitaire hand is potentially solvable if a player plays their cards right, a player ultimately wins a tournament by outscoring their opponent whether or not they solve their hand.
Although the distinctions between skill-based games and games of chance are clear, there are a few states within the U.S. that have not yet permitted skill-based games to be played for cash or prizes. For those states, GameColony games can be played, but only on a free basis without cash or prize offerings.
As noted by Arizona Supreme court:
"Paying an entrance fee in order to participate in a game of skill . . . in the hope of winning prize money guaranteed by some sponsor to successful participants, is a traditional part of American social life. [W]e are reluctant to adopt a statutory interpretation which would turn sponsors of golf, tennis or bridge tournaments, ... and the like into class 6 felons . . . [Furthermore, where the legislature specifically created a state-sponsored lottery,] it is difficult . . . to find any moral imperative for a sweeping interpretation of a gambling statute in order to make the sponsor of a crossword puzzle contest a criminal while his next door neighbor, betting a dollar with the state to win a million in the state lottery, is a virtuous citizen" (from Am. Holiday Ass'n 727 P.2d at 812).
What is Skill?
Here's a definition of Skill from Alabama Supreme Court: "Skill" - in the context of activities ... is merely the exercise, upon known rules and fixed probabilities, of "sagacity," which is in turn defined as "quickness or acuteness of sense perceptions; keenness of discernment with soundness of judgement; shrewdness; [the] ability to see what is relevant and significant." (Webster's New International Dictionary 2ed, 1953)
Also see Playing skill games can improve your health!