Gambling or a Video Game? Nebraska Struggles with Tavern Machines

July 20, 2009 -

Here on GamePolitics we have - by design - ignored issues relating to electronic gambling games.

That's because, as a form of entertainment, video games are quite distinct from gambling. But that line may be blurred a bit by a new generation of tavern games which appear to require video game-like skills to win, rather than mere luck.

The Omaha World-Herald reports on one such game, a billiards affair called Bank Shot. While games of chance are considered illegal gambling under laws in Nebraska and many other states, Bank Shot seems to require skill:

The makers of the machine [say] that it is a game of skill that is no different from a game of Trivial Pursuit or a dart tournament sponsored by a bar or tavern. They also argue that the video game was carefully constructed to comply with Nebraska law...

The difficulty for law enforcement is in determining when a game requires more chance than skill, or more skill than chance.

Players can bet from $0.25 to $4 per game. To date, the largest jackpot has been $17,000:

The game centers on nine pool balls arranged in a grid formation. The player pushes a button that starts the balls flashing quickly in various formations. The player then pushes “stop” on a particular pattern, which helps to determine whether or not a player wins.

There are 30,000 patterns of pool balls built into the game. About 27 patterns flash in a given minute... players become more skillful at spotting the winning patterns after playing the game for a period of time...

Nebraska law enforcement officials are hoping that the state legislature will provide guidance on the issue.

24 comments

Nebraska State Auditor Employs Fuzzy Logic to Zing Gaming Librarians

March 2, 2009 -

Last week GamePolitics reported that some Nebraska librarians were under investigation by State Auditor Mike Foley (R) for - horrors! - purchasing a PlayStation 2 and Rock Band set for use in the library.

Foley's final report on Nebraska's library system is now out, including his findings on the video game issue:

[Library] Commission employees have occasionally provided their own personal game consoles for trainings and demonstrations...

GP: Now that's dedication, a quality that government bureaucracy is so good at beating out of its employees. No good deed, as they say, goes unpunished.

The purchase of gaming equipment is a questionable use of public funds. It is common
knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to
purchase the games.

GP: Wait - kids like games, so the library shouldn't buy them? Does that mean they should expend their budget on things that people don't like? WTH?

Moreover, none of the games purchased were so complicated or out of the ordinary as to require the Commission to demonstrate their use to library staff and others...

GP: Because absolutely everyone who walks into a Nebraska library - including older librarians - has an innate sense of how to set up and play Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution? Thankfully, the Library Commission defended it employees against the Foley-crats:

Gaming equipment and games have become increasingly popular and in demand resources for library programming and service. The Library Commission purchased game equipment in response to requests from Nebraska librarians for demonstration and instruction. The Library Commission’s actions in acquiring gaming equipment and a few representative games are proper and in accord with the agency’s state statutory mission and its purposes in introducing new technologies, techniques and providing information and instruction in the use of these technologies.
 

GP: Bureaucracy... Grrrr...

Via: Nebraska State Paper

UPDATE: Cornfed Gamer has a terrific report on the situation with lots of additional details.

 
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Neo_DrKefkaMost also came with a free PS TV. Not a big fan but it did come with a free HDMI cord03/04/2015 - 7:40am
Andrew Eisen20.2 million PS4 consoles sold as of March 1. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/playstation4-ps4-sales-surpass-202-million-units-worldwide-300045019.html03/04/2015 - 12:33am
MechaTama31Goth: True, but you can at least not waste your time reloading pages that have no new comments, or trying to remember which stories you even commented on.03/04/2015 - 12:26am
ZippyDSMleeI like nivida as well but this is kinda sad, http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/02/nvidia-hit-with-class-action-lawsuit-over-graphics-card-ram-issues/03/04/2015 - 12:23am
Goth_SkunkTo be fair, the tracker only advises you of threads that you've commented on have received more comments. It does nothing towards advising you if you've been replied to.03/04/2015 - 12:21am
ZippyDSMleeSeems you can make a link to the trackpage and ti will go there for as long as you are loged in.03/03/2015 - 11:26pm
ZippyDSMleeOh wow you can do that? I been just checking my posts 0-o03/03/2015 - 11:24pm
Matthew Wilsononly news worth while is a console that is about wiiu power for 200 bucks, but who cares.03/03/2015 - 11:12pm
MechaTama31Is it possible to make it so clicking on your username takes you to your Track page instead of your Edit page? I use the Track page routinely to see if anybody has replied to me. Editing my profile, not so much. Save a bit of wear and tear on my mouse?03/03/2015 - 10:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.twitch.tv/nvidia is going to do a GDC conference, but god dam their preshow is so cringe worthy. ps I have a nvida card, and like their stuff, but still...03/03/2015 - 9:31pm
ZippyDSMlee.....win8 hates any left over hidden install partitions from other version of windows....only waste 5 hours finding that out...its ahrder than you think keeping up with 4 or 5 HDDS......03/03/2015 - 4:44am
Matthew WilsonI am going to pax east, any games you guys want me to check out?03/02/2015 - 11:23pm
ZippyDSMleeNo one remembers the days of Cinemagic and Cynergy eh? :P, meh even MGS is getting to film like....03/02/2015 - 8:44pm
MechaTama31I was about to get all defensive about liking Metal Gear Solid, but then I saw that he was talking about "cinematic" as a euphemism for "crappy framerate".03/02/2015 - 8:29pm
prh99Just replace cinematic with the appropriate synonym for poo and you'll have gist of any press release.03/02/2015 - 5:34pm
PHX Corphttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZQDFO2KEPo Jim Sterling Makes Fun of "Cinematic" Gaming03/02/2015 - 3:39pm
Matthew WilsonWOW is copping EVE. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/18141101/introducing-the-wow-token-3-2-2015 I think its a smart move to deal with gold farmers in this way.03/02/2015 - 1:16pm
Matthew WilsonI guess epic is tired of having their lunch eaten by unity. https://www.unrealengine.com/blog/ue4-is-free03/02/2015 - 12:50pm
Andrew EisenNot much to follow. Kern is being silly and... nothing much else is happening.03/02/2015 - 11:40am
Papa MidnightI ask because, having only just heard of it, I have not, and I was hoping for some insight.03/02/2015 - 11:39am
 

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