Sports Betting

Lawmakers around the country are fighting To Ban Gambling At Dave & Buster’s

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Dave and Buster's pic

Dave and Buster’s announced they plan to incorporate peer-to-peer in-app betting for their arcade games. That news has resulted in pushback from gaming regulators and lawmakers. They question whether this type of wagering violates gaming laws in the US. Dave and Buster’s are working with gamification software developer Lucra. 

They’re working to help incorporate social betting into the “D&B Rewards” mobile application. Dave and Buster’s believe that friendly wagering between family and friends is “nothing more than social gaming”. The company claims that these small-stakes wagers are similar to social gaming apps.

What are the major concerns with Dave and Buster’s adding betting into their rewards app?

Illinois lawmaker Daniel Didech plans to file legislation to the Springfield capital. He wants to make sure the issues with Dave and Buster’s do not arise across the state. Didech questions whether the “social betting” that D&B would offer would have any merit. One of the biggest concerns Didech has is the app allows underage gambling. 

Lucra noted their products are billed as “friendly competition” based on “real-money contests and challenges”. However, they lack safeguards that prevent kids and teens from gambling amongst themselves. Representative Daniel Diech had this to say.

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,” – Daniel Didech

In a statement, Lucra noted that their betting services are intended for adults 18 and up. However, the D&B rewards app can be manipulated by someone under 18. Making it easy for them to violate the law. Casinos and sportsbooks have regulations in place. However, online casinos do not have as many regulations. Didech claims that they have not done their due diligence to make sure these types of situations would not occur. 

The Ohio Gaming Commission also voiced its concerns with the betting being incorporated into the D&B rewards app. Pennsylvania has joined in and is examining the issue. They want to educate themselves on Dave and Buster’s plan for implementing betting.

The Commission does have serious concerns about the proposal — including that it appears to violate Ohio law regarding the facilitating of illegal prizes for skill-based amusement machines,” a spokesperson for the regulatory agency told CNBC. “We are reaching out to Dave & Buster’s for additional information.”

In 2022, Dave and Buster’s CEO Chris Morris said the company was raising their target demographic to 21-39 years old. Despite those claims, D&B still has issues with underage bettors using their services. This has drawn major backlash and D&B needs to do something quickly if they want to be a legitimate and regulated rewards app. House Bill 5832 wants to prohibit the five Illinois Dave & Buster locations from offering real-money gambling. Lawmakers have until May 24th to try to get the state to make a change to this legislature.