Place Your Bets...On Android Games

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Place Your Bets...On Android Games

When I first read about Skillz, the new online platform that allows users to place wagers on games of skill, I admit that I was a bit taken aback. But the more I read about the idea, the more...well...the more the picture became muddy. Depending on certain stances on certain issues, this is either a great idea or a terrible one, but it's certainly ohe to take a closer look at.

Skillz is a platform that allows users to place small wagers on the outcomes of certain games. The platform is available for games like Bubble Shooter, 3D Cave Runner, Big Sports Fishing 3D Lite, GnarBike Trials, and around eight or so other games, making for a total number of a dozen or so games on Google Play that can work with the Skillz platform. As for Skillz itself, it's a multiplayer platform that matches up gamers, and allows each to wager a small amount--a dollar each, at last report--on the outcomes of their matches. Skillz and the developer of each individual game gets a cut of the wagers--about 10 percent total--with the rest of the pot going to the winner of each matchup.

Thus, a whole lot gets accomplished. Skillz makes money for serving as the intermediary. The developer gets a new revenue stream, which is tough to do these days, especially for indie game developers. Players get a new way to have fun, and often stick around longer, which is good for the developer and Skillz.

Those concerned about legality needn't be; as it turns out, since Skillz focuses on, much as the name implies, games of skill, most states will allow wagering on a game of skill, reportedly. Even those states which don't allow games of skill wagering, like Montana, there's a virtual currency option which provides at least an approximation of the whole experience. Skillz can even tell if each individual state allows the gambling portion to activate thanks to the built-in GPS on most Android devices. What's more, Skillz thinks it can expand its offerings outward to games  of chance as well.

The idea isn't a terrible one; indeed, there are so many winners in this particular race that it's hard not to see the advantages. But by like token, again, there are those with objections to wagering at any level, and they're worth considering as well. But then, even for those who object to wagering at any level, are they really so injured? They can continue to play the games that are, in part, developed thanks to the cash brought in by those who do wager. Even these objectors are winners, beneficiaries of a system partially funded by wager.

Will it be long before there's an equivalent for Xbox Live Gold members, or Sony enthusiasts, out to put a dollar down on the outcome of, say, a game of Team Fortress 2? Or Uno? Or anything else, for that matter? There certainly are possibilities enough, but will they come around? Only time will tell just how this all ends up, but there's certainly enough room for them to be expressed.
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