Distinguishing between Games of Skill and Games of Chance: The Need for Quantifiable Methods

The recent promulgation of Chhattisgarh Gambling Act 2023 and previous court rulings have highlighted the need for a clear distinction between games of skill and games of chance in India.The question of what constitutes a game of skill has led to confusion and ambiguity, with different courts and legislation having differing opinions.

What is a game of skill?

  • Games in India are typically classified as games of skill where skill plays a dominant role in determining the result of the game.
  • The result depends on the knowledge, training, experience and ability of the player, with some element of luck.
  • However, the determination of the nature of a game is still conducted on a case-to-case basis, leading to confusion and ambiguity.

Current challenges

  • The lack of quantifiable methods to evaluate games has led to difficulty for operators, especially where large investments are at stake and the threat of criminal prosecution looms.
  • The investors, service providers, producers, gamers and the general public depend largely on State legislation and court judgments to determine if a particular game is one of skill or chance.

Possible solution

  • A mathematical assessment should be undertaken to objectively quantify whether a game has skill predominating over the elements of chance.
  • This approach will curb ambiguity and would be able to withstand challenges based on differing legal opinions.

Methods for mathematical assessment

  • Historical data analysis: Professionals evaluate historical data associated with the game to identify patterns related to frequency and quality of wins by certain individuals to ascertain the application of skill in a particular game.
  • Skilled simulations: Algorithms are generated by professionals and the outcomes of a game are simulated and evaluated against patterns that arise in an analysis of historical data.
  • Live experiment: An experimental approach, wherein various strategies to approach the game under assessment are generated and assigned to users to compare for success rates.


By utilizing these methods, empirical evidence can be provided to support the claim that elements of skill exist within the game.The goal is to demonstrate that within a particular game, there exists enough skill so that skilled players outperform unskilled players.

Written by IAS POINT

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