N.J. Announces Regulations for Skill-Based Casino Video Games

Pinball? Angry Birds clones? New Jersey has issued regulations for skill-based casino video games. Such games could be in Atlantic City soon.

Attack from Mars pinball

The Attack from Mars pinball machine at the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Based on the skyline, this pinball game is set in Philadelphia.

New Jersey gambling is going to get a little more exciting soon.

Today, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement today legalized more ways to gamble: Namely, it announced temporary regulations for skill-based gaming: Instead of sliding bills into a slot machine where you have no control over whether you win, you’ll be able to play skill-based games for real money in Atlantic City casinos.

“This is another important step towards implementing skill-based gaming in the Atlantic City gaming market,” DGE director David Rebuck said. “Although the Division has had the authority to authorize these games for some time and announced in October 2014 an initiative for manufacturers to bring their skill-based games to New Jersey, the industry requested specific regulations to guide their efforts to create innovative skill-based products.”

The regulations allow game outcomes to be “dependent in whole or in part upon the player’s physical dexterity and/or mental ability.” Slot machines with skill-based elements must pay out at least 83 percent, while games that are entirely skill-based do not have a hold minimum. Games can’t be altered during play in order to make it tougher for a skilled player to win.

The regulations mirror ones approved in Nevada last year. Any product approved in Nevada will be legal to use in New Jersey as well. Any skill-based gaming machine submitted to New Jersey for testing before (or simultaneous with) any other state can get on casino floors just 14 days after approval.

The Associated Press reports some makers are developing gambling versions of pinball, while others are doing versions of Words With Friends or Angry Birds. One such Angry Birds knockoff is Police Pooches vs. Zombie Cats.

As Lewis Black said about the game: “You fling one type of animal at another type of animal. What an original concept. Hope you’re lawyered up, police pooches, because if those birds were angry before — now they’re fucking pissed!” Still, if this leads to the ability to play Pocket Mortys for real money, I’m all in.

The most intriguing possible skill-based casino game, though, is probably pinball. The game was banned for years as a scourge of youth; old pinball machines say “no wagering” on them.

“While the Division does not currently have any skill-based products in its Technical Services Lab,” Rebuck said, “we are in discussions regarding several products and hope the clarity provided by these regulations will bring even more submissions in this cutting edge area that converges traditional casino gaming with the skill-based gaming so popular with millennials.”

The regulations are only temporary and could be amended in the future. Read them below.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.

New Jersey Skilled Based Gaming regulations