Home » Dave & Busters to allow betting? Not so fast, say some states

Dave & Busters to allow betting? Not so fast, say some states

The US adult amusement company Dave & Busters announced in late April that it will allow adult rewards customers to bet against each other in its arcades. But lawmakers and regulators almost immediately began voicing concerns.

In Illinois, Representative Dan Didech, who is chairman of the House Gaming Committee, filed “The Family Wagering Prohibition Act” 2 May. The bill would not only prohibit “family amusement establishment(s)” like Dave & Buster’s from “facilitating” wagering on its games, it would also ban advertising of such. So far, Didech has 36 co-sponsors.

The bill is in the Rule Committee, but no hearing date has been set. The session deadline for introducing bills in the house was 9 February and the crossover deadline was 19 April. But legislatures often make exceptions for unique situations.

OH, PA regulators learning more

So far, Didech appears to be the only lawmaker to react to the Dave & Busters announcement by filing legislation. Regulators and Ohio and Pennsylvania are examining the issue. According to PlayPennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is going to educate itself on the Dave & Buster’s plan.

The Ohio Casino Control Commission is also investigating the issue, and told at least one media outlet the idea “appears to violate Ohio law.” Along with Massachusetts, Ohio has some of the most strict regulations around gambling, advertising, and minors.

According to its website, Dave & Busters has 140 locations in 42 US states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The company has five locations in Illinois, six in Ohio, and eight in Pennsylvania. Dave & Buster’s opened its first location in Dallas in 1982. There are now 15 locations in Texas, but California has the most locations with 22.

Lucra is gaming partner

The plan from Dave & Buster’s is to allow loyalty members over the age of 18 bet against each other. Using the Dave & Buster’s app, customers would be able to put real money into a peer-to-peer betting environment. Consumers would be betting on games like Skee-ball, Connect 4 Hoops, billiards, or a vast array of video and arcade games.

Dave & Buster’s is partnering with gamification software company Lucra on the app. CNBC, which first broke the story, reported that Dave & Buster’s would put a cap on the amount of bets. Lucra says skills-based games aren’t regulated in the same way that wagering or casino gambling is.

Lucra CEO Dylan Robbins told CNBC that the company’s goal is to “amplify” and “digitise” social sports and gaming situations.

Illinois’ Didech isn’t interested in the semantics or splitting hairs.

“It is inappropriate for family-friendly arcades to facilitate unregulated gambling on their premises,” Didech said in a statement according to Sports Handle. “These businesses simply do not have the ability to oversee gambling activity in a safe and responsible manner.”