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Paddy Power Skill Zone Discontinued From 15th December 2021

paddy power skill zoneThere are few betting companies that do free to play games as good as Paddy Power and this was evident with Skill Zone, which offered customers the ability to play skill games daily from which they could earn free bets and power ups.  The games varied each week with the idea being to score as many points as possible on the games during the week to rise up the leader board and earn rewards.

Paddy Power decided to discontinue Skill Zone from Wednesday 15th December 2021 with the last game week being 8th-14th December.  This has left many regular players who enjoyed logging in daily to play the games disappointed.

Users have been encouraged to use up any remaining ‘gold’ within the game before closure as this can not be converted to other rewards.

paddy power skill zone closure notice

Popular titles included:

  • Hit The Spot – A football game where you aim to score from a set piece, a goal being worth 1 point with other targets for 2, 3 or 5 points.  In game enhancements could be purchased using gold earned from playing the games that increased the value of targets, made targets bigger or froze the targets or players.  Each set piece also had various wind speeds that needed to be taken into account when taking a shot.  There was also a Gaelic version of Hit The Spot, which was very similar but without the ability to purchase enhancements.  Targets were made bigger automatically during happy hour.
  • Mini-Golf Island – A mini-golf game that required players to get the ball past various obstacles and into the hole in the fewest shots possible.  Users could buy enhancements from the shop that allowed shots to be retaken or the ball to be moved a certain distance.
  • Hoops Galore – A basketball game that rewarded players based on the number of hoops they made from various areas of the court. There was an indoor version, without the influence of wind, and an outdoor version where wind speed needed to be taken into account.  A successful shot with a standard orange basketball was worth 1 point and a green basketball (one out of 5 were green) worth 5 points.  If you made a streak of five in a row then the ball would catch fire and each successful subsequent shot worth an additional point.
  • Headers – Simple game of moving a ‘head’ to head footballs that were falling, while avoiding bombs.  The longer you keep the balls in the air the more points you get, in game features such as bigger balls or slower balls could be won to help elongate the game.
  • Sports Quiz – Simple ten question quiz with ten seconds to answer each question, the quicker you answer a question the more points you get.  There were four lifelines; extra time, double chance, double points and blast (giving one automatic answer).  The quiz was about various sports, music, film, events and often followed what was happening in the world, e.g. if there was a big golf major on the questions would often be golf related.

mini-golf island

Four games were available each day for one week (Wednesday to Tuesday) and could be played once per day.  Each week some games were inactivated and others became active.  Hit The Spot and Hoops Galore were the most commonly featured games.

Each individual game had a leader board and then there was a master leader board that your two highest scores from the individual games could contribute to.  The winner of the master leader board could originally win £200 in free bets, this was then more recently dropped to £100 in free bets (and in a way was a sign that the game was being phased out).  Prizes were then tiered down but if you finished between 450-8000 you would get a £1 free bet (recently dropped to £0.50) and between 20,000 and 8,001 a free power up.

There was also a monthly challenge that would earn users gold to spend on the enhancements mentioned earlier.  Players particularly enjoyed the typical Paddy humour peppered through the games, such as comments that would appear if you missed a shot, e.g. in Hit The Spot a missed goal would see a message like ‘Emile Heskey Is In the Building’ or similar.

Why Is Skill Zone Closed?

pp skill zone hit the spotGiven it was a popular free game with users and it encouraged customers to visit the site or app once a day it seems surprising that PP would close Skill Zone as it is clearly successful with some users.  Still, there were some issues with Skill Zone that likely lead to the decision.

Firstly, although players that played were loyal to the game in reality the number of players only amounted to a fraction of Paddy Power’s overall customer base.  The effort to maintain Skill Zone for a few 1000 people may be seen as uneconomical.  It also ultimately meant that the same players were winning free bets every week.

Secondly, it was fairly clear that some people knew how to play these games better than others, perhaps using nefarious means to play.  From the scores at the top of the leader boards it was obvious that for some games there were ways to win the game other than skill.  For example, the top score in mini-golf island was simply impossible to achieve for a normal player through skill alone, you had to know something about the workings of the game.  The top scorers in the quiz also had scores that seemed humanly impossible.

This meant that a lot of the same players were winning the bigger rewards each week and that removed to competitiveness from Skill Zone.  In the time that I played I noticed it was easier and easier to get onto the leader board lowest free bet positions, suggesting many people had stopped playing it.

Will Skill Zone Come Back?

skill zone hoops galorePaddy Power are known for innovating when it comes to engaging customers so no doubt they have something in the pipeline to replace Skill Zone.  The Skill Zone itself will probably come back in a similar format at some point.  Part of why it is being retired is it had been running a long time and perhaps became a bit stale.  There is nothing better than relaunching something to garner attention again.

In the meantime for those that really liked Skill Zone there really isn’t anything like it available with other betting sites and so for the time being it means you have to do without your mini-golf and virtual basketball.

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