Dave & Busters to Allow Betting on Arcade Games

The sports bar and arcade chain Dave & Busters, which has the slogan “Eat, Drink, Play, Watch,” is going to allow betting on their large number of arcade games. That includes the Hot Shots basketball game, Skee-Ball, and a host of other games that each of its more than 220 North American locations has to offer.

The idea is to allow friends to place wagers against one another while playing – to have “a little skin in the game,” said Michael Madding, the COO of Lucra, the gamification company that will provide Dave & Busters with the needed technology.

Customers that belong to Dave & Buster’s loyalty program will be able to place small $5 and $10 bets using the D&B mobile app, and the betting will have features like double or nothing and rematches with specific opponents.

“This new partnership [with Lucra] gives our loyalty members real-time, unrivaled gaming experiences, and reinforces our commitment to continuing to elevate our customer experience through innovative, cutting-edge technology,” said Simon Murray, Dave & Buster’s SVP of entertainment and attractions.

Dave & Buster’s claims more than five million loyalty members, and using the app to place wagers will allow them to “earn rewards and unlock exclusive perks.” Currently, Dave & Buster’s Rewards offers bonus game chips for money spent on food, as well as badges and rewards for completing game challenges.

The Legality of Betting at Dave & Busters

The yet-to-be named Dave & Busters betting service is only available to customers age 18 and older. The software provider Lucra is also not a betting company, and instead legally operates under skill-based games regulations. Madding said that Lucra doesn’t use words like wager and betting, and prefers to call their offerings challenges and contests.

But being mindful of the concerns that some people might have, Madding says the software only offers small wagers. “We have best-in-class practices and policies and procedures as it relates to responsible gaming and risk management.”

Lucra also has a partnership with Dupr, the pickleball ratings system, and the tennis app TennisOne. Through those two partnerships, Lucra has hosted more than one million “contests” and handled more than $20 million.

Why Use the App to Bet Your Friends?

One-on-one wagers between friends have been around since cavemen threw their first stick. So why not just bet your friend directly when playing Skee-Ball, and leave Dave & Busters out of it? Lucra points out that its software digitizes the experience, making it easier and more entertaining.

“Lucra aims to disrupt traditional forms of competition by providing a safe and trustworthy experience for people to challenge their friends inside a platform or place they already know and love. Lucra’s approach will help to destigmatize cash-based competition by evolving it into a fun, friendly, and social experience,” explained Tuesday’s press release.

In other words, if you use the app, there will be no welching on the bet, and hopefully there will be no hurt feelings from the loser.

Dave & Busters did not say when the new “contest” service will be available. But they did say that the software could be integrated into their loyalty app in as little as two weeks.

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