New Golf Simulator With Cash Payouts Could Be Headed To North Carolina

A new indoor golf simulator game could make its way to North Carolina in the coming months.

Skill Money Games, a company that offers indoor golf simulation games with cash prizes, received $5 million in funding from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Skill Money Games has existing partnerships with Full Swing and Swing Social, too.

NCSharp reached out to Skill Money Games to gain insight into a potential North Carolina launch. After all, North Carolina’s ties with the EBCI make it seem like Skill Money Games’ product could be featured in the Tar Heel State at some point, specifically in North Carolina casinos.

Sameer Gupta, the company’s co-founder, explained that while it doesn’t have a North Carolina presence just yet, it certainly could happen.

When asked about any specific cities the company is targeting or when exactly North Carolina customers could expect to have access, Gupta said, “We’ll know more about both answers in the coming months.”

How does Skill Money Games’ golf simulator work?

This indoor golf game utilizes artificial intelligence to analyze each player’s specific skills and characteristics. The goal is to give players of all skill levels a shot at taking home prizes.

“We add the thrill of winning money to indoor golf,” Skill Money Games CEO Bryan O’Reilly said in a statement. “It’s a win for the players, a win for the ventures and a win for golf overall. With our technology, golfers of all skill levels can play for real money on any simulator. Hit a good shot and get paid immediately.”

Customers can play a closest to the pin challenge, which, as the name implies, pays players depending on how close to the flag they land a shot. Players select their distance, their win circle and their pay table prior to taking their first swing.

Win circles look like this:

  • 5 feet from the pin: $50
  • 15 feet from the pin: $30
  • 30 feet from the pin: $20
  • 60 feet from the pin: $10

Once you’ve entered, you’ll see your name on the screen and can then select a club of your choosing to hit the ball with. From there, once you swing, you’ll win the amount of money that corresponds with your distance from the pin. When they’re finished, players can use the web app to either deposit more money and play again or withdraw their winnings.

Indoor golf courses skyrocket in popularity

Golf remains a popular sport in the US, and indoor golf’s popularity is on the rise.

According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of golfers playing off-course (on driving ranges and simulators) surpassed the number of players on-course last year.

These simulator games, such as the product Skill Money Games offers, are a great way to socialize while also partaking in the sport. It’s a much more laid-back environment than on the course, with patrons able to eat a meal and sit down for a beer while they wait for their turn. Off-course golf also can provide unique challenges, such as TopGolf, where there are a number of different targets for competitors to aim at scattered across a range.

EBCI’s NC connections could lead to golf simulator wagering

Gupta didn’t provide a definitive “yes” on whether Skill Money Games would have a North Carolina presence. But the recent funding from the EBCI would suggest that it’s certainly a possibility.

The EBCI operates two casinos within the Tar Heel State: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is North Carolina’s largest casino, and it’s not done growing. A $275 million expansion plan will be completed this spring, which will add 25,000 square feet onto the gaming floor. In terms of the resort, patrons will have 296 new hotel rooms, a new fitness center, a hotel tower and a spa.

Adding a golf simulator at either of its North Carolina casinos seems logical for the EBCI. It’s a great source of entertainment and would blend right in with existing eateries on the properties. Plus, a $5 million commitment is a sign that tribal members believe in the product.

Top Golf Raleigh-Durham expansion another option for Skill Money Games

The Top Golf in Raleigh-Durham is currently hiring and will be opening its new Triangle location soon. The Texas-based golf entertainment venue has an existing partnership with Full Swing, which could make it an easy place to debut the Skill Money Games platform.

NCSharp reached out to Top Golf and was told that the Raleigh-Durham location didn’t have any plans at the moment to open a Skill Money Games-integrated golf simulator.

As of now, Skill Money Games’ product is available in California and Colorado. A New York location is coming soon, as is another California spot, according to the company’s website.

About the Author

Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley's byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working as an editor and reporter for the Daily Iowan’s sports department.