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Disney adding gaming site to its kingdom

Skillgames, an online gaming site with funding from Walt Disney and Priceline.com's founder, is expected to unveil its service next month with a blitz featuring cash giveaways.

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Skillgames, a paid, online gaming site with funding from Walt Disney and Priceline.com founder Jay Walker, is expected to unveil its service next month with a promotional blitz rife with cash giveaways.

With the deal, Disney is allowing Skillgames to use some of its brand names, such as ESPN and ABC, in its games. But the service raises questions about whether Disney is supporting a gambling venture. Disney has denied that Skillgames falls into the camp of online gambling, since the prizes are awarded according to one's ability to play the games, the Los Angeles Times reported.

This is not the first time Disney has tested the waters for paid services on the Internet. The company runs its own subscription-based online service called Disney Blast, but it has never taken off among consumers.

Representatives from Disney and Skillgames declined to offer specific details about the companies' relationship, adding that they would provide more information when the service launches in mid-June.

The representatives also declined to shed light on what types of games would be offered. However, cash prizes ranging from $5 to $500 will be awarded to certain players as well as a $1 million grand prize, a Skillgames representative said.

Disney spokeswoman Susan Murdy said the company has a minority investment in Skillgames.

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