Simple bets on sporting games have played an important role in the realm of active recreational entertainment for a very long time. Since the 1800’s carnival-goers can throw baseballs at milk jugs, shoot moving targets, toss rings around spindles, throw basketballs through the hoop and last, but not least, hit pressure plates with huge mallets in a show of bell-ringing strength winning everything from goldfish, to cash.
These activities require both mental and physical skills, though many such games have translated into pushing buttons on arcade games, PCs and game consoles, these are the real deal, games of skill. However, in order to play, you pay. Carnival midway workers are betting on it and know that the best player is the one who can’t walk away before proving himself or herself. This type of player can’t resist paying for a second, third, fourth, fifth and so on chance at winning that prize. Amazingly enough, the most recent incident of how addictive they can be took place in April of 2013 when a New Hampshire man lost $2600 attempting to win at a game of ball toss.
Perhaps this is why casinos mimic the sounds and sights at carnival midways. Bright lights flash, sounds echo and games beckon. Brilliant colors and trendy slot machine themes call to visitors to pay, pay, pay so they can play, play, play. However, slot machines, like arcade games, PCs and game consoles, require little skill or effort. There are no mental or physical abilities needed.
However, today gaming took a big step back in time to the days of baseballs and milk jugs; mallets and pressure plates; and basketball and hoops.
The Borgata Casino in Atlantic City announced today they will host a basketball free-throw real money gaming contest on March 21, coinciding with the NCAA’s March Madness. Under the New Jersey First Program,, state gaming regulators at the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) approved the Borgata venture on February 13. The New Jersey First Program was designed to enhance the state’s gaming economy.
Joe Lupo, the senior vice-president has high hopes, “…we’ll be very interested to see how many people come.” He believes the contest will break the door open to allow other gaming events requiring mental and/or physical dexterity to determine the winner. Considering the gamut of what these could be, the possibilities are endless. The DGE could extend their decision to include football throws, arm wrestling, soccer goals and perhaps strategic games such as chess.
The $20 buy-in pays for three, 90-second, 15-shot, free-throw rounds and a chance to win $5,000 (Borgata Hotel and Casino is guaranteeing $10,000 in prizes). Similar to the coinciding NCAA March Madness, the top 16 shooters will advance and play head-to-head until a final winner emerges. The event marks the first time players will depend on physical dexterity rather than luck to win the jackpot.
Borgata President and CEO Tom Ballance pointed toward a future of “social and skill-based gaming options [for] a new generation of players.” Perhaps baseball throws, ring tosses and target shooting are just around the corner.
The free-throw contest will take place on March, 21 2015 in the 6,000 square-foot Signature Room at 1 Bogata Way, Atlantic City, NJ.