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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PHX Corphttp://www.gamnesia.com/news/sony-is-disabling-users-from-archiving-their-ps4-livestreams-of-until-dawn Sony is Disabling Users from Archiving Their PS4 Livestreams of Until Dawn08/27/2015 - 8:47pm
MattsworknameAndrew: SOrry I didnt get back, i went to bed before I saw your post. The Producer is listed as Arbitor36508/27/2015 - 6:06pm
Andrew EisenNope.08/27/2015 - 4:17pm
ZippyDSMleeDid you guys cover Fatal Frame 5 being nintendo Eshop only?08/27/2015 - 3:55pm
Big Perm120 bucks for a tetanus shot. Thanks Obama08/27/2015 - 3:01pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Of course they do. I wasn't suggesting otherwise. Hell, Quiet's already been cosplayed quite a bit.08/27/2015 - 1:25pm
Big PermThere's been some pretty good Kill La Kill cosplay08/27/2015 - 12:56pm
Matthew WilsonI saw someone cosplay as the main charector from kill la kill last year at pax, so people do it.....08/27/2015 - 12:55pm
Andrew EisenPerm - Well yeah, Kojima himself said something along the lines of "Cosplay this, I dare you! No, seriously. Please cosplay this!" I was just wondering if there was an in-universe explanation.08/27/2015 - 12:45pm
Andrew EisenCheck out last week's story on The State of Play book for an updated cover and a list of all the authors and their essay titles! http://gamepolitics.com/2015/08/21/state-play-looks-current-state-video-games08/27/2015 - 12:44pm
Big PermI figured it was because titties are awesome08/27/2015 - 12:37pm
Andrew EisenI'm still waiting to see if any reviews spill the beans on the story reasons behind Quiet's goofy getup in Metal Gear Solid 508/27/2015 - 12:33pm
ZippyDSMleeHave you seen what the Deva wrestlers wear? Now lets get all that Japan only DLC for DOA over here, and DOA Volly ball,ect let the whining commence!08/27/2015 - 12:18pm
Matthew Wilsonsuprisingly, there has not been the negative reaction I was expecting.08/27/2015 - 12:13pm
Andrew EisenWe should devote a segment to R. Mika's costume on the podcast. It'll be great!08/27/2015 - 11:40am
Andrew EisenMatt - So... who is the producer of the video you linked?08/27/2015 - 11:15am
ZippyDSMleeAnd its not as bad as rumble roses :P08/27/2015 - 11:14am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I dunno wrestling is about spectacle nd bad costumes are part and parcel of it..08/27/2015 - 11:13am
Big PermThis costume is amazing. Praise it08/27/2015 - 10:59am
E. Zachary KnightOh wow. This costume is obnoxious. Why? The character and moves are cool but man that costume. Ugh. http://kotaku.com/r-mika-and-her-ridiculous-outfit-join-street-fighter-v-172692528208/27/2015 - 10:56am

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