Dave & Buster’s Betting Plans Quickly Countered With Bill To Block Arcade Gambling

Erik Gibbs

dave busters betting

Dave & Buster’s recent partnership with Lucra Sports to facilitate real-money betting on arcade games has been met with mixed reactions. Mostly negative.

While some view it as an innovative way to enhance the gaming experience for adults, others worry about the implications for the arcade’s family-friendly image and the potential for encouraging gambling habits among younger patrons. Illinois Representative Daniel Didech belongs in the latter camp.

Didech has introduced House Bill 5832, aimed at curbing unregulated gambling in family-friendly arcade venues across Illinois. This bill, known as the Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act, seeks to prohibit establishments like Dave & Buster’s from allowing – actively or passively – any type of betting on amusement games. 

The proposed legislation, which has 26 additional sponsors, comes in response to recent announcements by Dave & Buster’s that it would allow customers to gamble on arcade games. This decision has sparked controversy and debate about the nature of gambling and its place in family-oriented environments.

The bill outlines specific prohibitions, including the prevention of operations like Dave & Buster’s  from advertising amusement game betting. It also delineates what is permissible. Games that enable players to receive coupons or points redeemable onsite for merchandise and claw games have received the green light. These stipulations aim to ensure that the core activities of arcades remain within the realm of skill-based entertainment rather than crossing into the territory of gambling.

HB 5832 also amends the Criminal Code of 2012, classifying the facilitation of wagering on amusement games as gambling. According to the act, it is considered a Class A misdemeanor if an individual knowingly engages in or facilitates betting on amusement games. 

As of May 2, the bill resided with the House Rules Committee.

Everyone wants a piece of the action

Dave & Buster’s has said that it’s innovating the gaming experience by introducing a betting feature for its arcade games. This new venture is made possible through a partnership with Lucra, a company specializing in gamification software. 

Customers can place wagers on games like Skee-Ball through the Dave & Buster’s app, adding a competitive edge to the arcade experience. The feature is designed to provide a “fully immersive” experience, allowing friends to bet against each other and compete for rewards and exclusive perks. 

While this would introduce a new form of entertainment, it also raises questions about responsible gaming and the potential for encouraging gambling habits, especially among younger patrons.

Lucra specializes in offering white-label gamification software that can be seamlessly integrated into third-party platforms. Its approach significantly reduces the time and cost associated with adding gamification features, making it accessible for both large and small brands. 

Lucra is backed by sports tech venture capital fund SeventySix Capital and Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton among others.