Home » Illinois Rep Hopes to Prohibit New Dave & Buster’s Gaming Policy

Illinois Rep Hopes to Prohibit New Dave & Buster’s Gaming Policy

Dave and Busters logo.

© JUAN CARLO/THE STAR / USA TODAY NETWORK

  • An Illinois lawmaker has introduced a bill to prohibit family-friendly arcades from facilitating unregulated gambling on their premises
  • The “Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act” will prohibit a family amusement establishment from engaging in advertising that promotes wagering on amusement games
  • Dave & Buster’s, and its partner Lucra Sports, does not believe its new proposal constitutes gambling

That was quick.

Just two days after Dave & Buster’s announced a new plan to allow loyalty members to digitally compete in real-money arcade contests at its locations throughout the country, an Illinois Representative has introduced legislation to block “family-friendly arcades” from knowingly advertising and facilitating wagering on amusement games at its premises.

Rep. Daniel Didech (D-59) today introduced HB 5832 to the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the rules committee.

No Wagering on Amusement Games

An official press release announcing the introduction of the bill said the legislation is in response to Dave & Buster’s potential plan to allow loyalty members to compete against other customers for real money on such games as skee-ball or pop-a-shot through its app. The national restaurant and entertainment business announced this week a new partnership with Lucra Sports to use its proprietary software to allow these types of contests on the Dave & Buster’s app.

Dave & Buster’s has five locations in Illinois.

“Gambling establishments are among the most strictly regulated businesses in Illinois. Everyone involved in the gambling industry in Illinois undergoes thorough background checks, is required to implement security protocols, can only offer games that are fair and safe for players, and must create a responsible environment to protect minors and problem gamblers. It is inappropriate for family-friendly arcades to facilitate unregulated gambling on their premises. These businesses simply do not have the ability to oversee gambling activity in a safe and responsible manner,” Didech said in a release.

The bill will prohibit family-amusement establishments from facilitating wagering on amusement games, which includes, but is not limited to, “taking any action that knowingly allows any entity to facilitate gambling on amusement games on the family amusement establishment’s premises.” Additionally, establishments will be prohibited from engaging in advertising that promotes wagering on amusement games.

Didech’s bill will continue to allow establishments to offer tickets based off of arcade game outcomes in exchange for on-site merchandise and claw-grab machines.

Didech currently serves as chairman of the House Gaming Committee.

Is This Actually Gambling?

Lucra Sports describes its contests as skill-based games, which they say are not subject to the same licensing processing or regulations as gambling operators in a state.

In an interview with Marketplace.org, Michael Madding, chief operating officer of Lucra Sports, said the company verifies its users are 18 and “allows for the ability to play for cash.” It is not gambling, Madding said, but putting money on your own abilities.

“We’re very conscious to not use the word ‘bet’ or ‘wager’ anywhere in our product,” he said in the interview. “We say things like ‘challenge’ or ‘competition’ or ‘contest.’”

Skill-based games are not as taxed or regulated as heavily as gambling on games of chance.

A spokesperson for the Illinois Gaming Board told Sports Betting Dime it regulates licensed gaming establishments statewide. Dave & Buster’s is not currently licensed, so the board offered no comment on its plan at this time.

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