Dave & Buster's Will Soon Let You Place Bets On Arcade Games

Image: Kotaku / Jaclyn Vernace / Wpadington (Shutterstock)
Image: Kotaku / Jaclyn Vernace / Wpadington (Shutterstock)

Starting later this year, popular family entertainment restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s will offer its customers (who are 18 years or older) the ability to place “friendly wagers” on various games using the company’s app.

Has this ever happened to you? While you were at Dave & Buster’s, slamming down some flatbread and chugging overpriced booze, your friend suggested they could set a new high score in skee ball. You laugh and respond with a playful “Oh I’d bet $20 you can’t do that!” and then they scoff and try anyway. But they fail, and you realize that if you had stopped to place a wager on this interaction you could have made some money. Well, don’t worry, because soon, you’ll be able to do just that at your local Dave & Buster’s establishment.

On April 30, as reported by NBC, Dave & Buster’s announced its plans to soon start offering its five million loyalty members an option to place bets on its various games using the company’s app. The entertainment chain, with over 200 locations in North America, will add the wager functionality to its loyalty app in the next few months. It’s partnering with Lucra—a gambling software company—to power its new friendly wager system.

The idea is that while you are at Dave & Buster’s, you and your friends can place bets on how well you’ll do at different games. The app will manage all of these bets and payouts. Now if I bet $5 on my friend failing at an arcade game, most people would call that gambling. However, Lucra’s chief operating officer disagrees.

According to NBC, Lucra says “skill-based games” are not subject to the same rules and regulations as slot machines or other types of gambling. The company is careful to not use specific terms like “bet” or “wager” when talking about its software and how it will work with places like Dave & Buster’s.

“We use real-money contests or challenges,” Madding told NBC.

Call it whatever you want, this news is just another example of gambling being shoved into more of our lives. At this point, I can’t go more than an hour without a gambling ad showing up in an app, website, TV channel, or email. We’ve seen gambling infest online gaming and streaming, too. And as more states legalize online sports betting, it’s likely that more places will jump on the bandwagon and let adults place bets on everything. I can’t wait for my grocery store to start letting me participate in “real-money contests” during checkout while I guess the total price.


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