In law (specifically that deriving from English practice), what is the technical difference between a game of "skill" and a game of "chance"?

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Main topic: Humanities
Other topics: Law, Gambling
Short answer: Games of chance is a game in which the result is determined predominately by random chance, and "games of skill," in which the player's level of success is primarily determined by their level of knowledge, training, knowhow, and experience.
Dice is an example of a game of chance

There has been a string of judicial rulings as well as a section in federal legislation that classifies fantasy sports as a game of skill. Under federal law, games of skill are generally permitted with several exceptions. Gambling that is against the law is often seen as a game of chance.[1]

Fantasy sports is a type of game in which players create virtual teams by picking real athletes and gain points based on how well those athletes perform in real-world competitions according to a set of statistical variables and pre-determined rules. Players create their virtual teams by selecting real athletes from a database of athletes. It is a game that awards players for their ability to properly anticipate the results of athletic events while also making strategic decisions within the constraints of a specific game. When one places a bet on anything with the intention of winning a larger quantity of money, this activity, which may also be referred to as "gambling," is being engaged in as a "game of chance."[2][3]

Key differences between a game of "skill" and a game of "chance"
Point of Difference Game of "skill" Game of "chance"
Strategy with experience With more time and effort, it is feasible to learn how to implement techniques that will allow one to win in the game. Anyone can improve as a player with each new game, as well as their understanding of how to play the game and what moves will lead to victory. It is often determined by luck and a player may have little opportunity to enhance their performance.
Goals and progress Games that test players' skills often have well-defined objectives and provide feedback on how they are improving. They will acquire new information and experience either way, regardless of the outcome of the competition. These games are focused on luck rather than talent, it is not typically feasible to achieve any progress in terms of skill or mastery of the game while playing games of chance because these games are dependent on luck.
Improvement Games of skill often provide the opportunity for the player to steadily enhance their overall winning percentage. Players will be able to improve their skills and make steady headway while playing skill games. Since the outcomes of games of chance have no bearing on the player in any way, these games often do not provide any opportunities for long-term progress. However, players never know whether they will come out on top or not in a particular game since games of chance are seldom consistent in their outcomes.
Control of game Skill games do not change their behavior and are not affected by external influences that determine the result. The capacity of the player to master the game is a decisive element in whether or not they will be successful in these games, thus excellent play is required. The outcomes of games of chance are never predictable. When you play, you run the risk of being given various results at each and every round. Due to the predominance of luck or chance in determining game outcomes, no two games are ever going to be the same. Players that like being able to influence the outcome of their games will discover that skill games provide a far higher level of enjoyment.
Legality It is legal in most of states and countries Only limited countries and states allow it.


  1. Weston, Maureen A. (2021-09-01). "Daily fantasy sports and the law in the USA". The International Sports Law Journal. 21 (3): 121–139. doi:10.1007/s40318-021-00192-0. ISSN 2213-5154.
  2. "skill versus chance a saga of online gaming". Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  3. "Is It Luck or Skill: Establishing Role of Skill in Mutual Fund Management and Fantasy Sports" (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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