Dave & Buster’s to let players bet against each other on arcade games

Arcade giant Dave & Buster’s is set to allow adults 18 and older to place real-time bets with friends on arcade games.

The Dave & Buster’s app will begin to incorporate an option to bet against other players, the company said Tuesday as part of a news release. The arcade company is partnering with Lucra, a company that makes gamification software, and expects to launch the bet feature in the coming months.

‘This new partnership 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,’ Simon Murray, senior vice president of entertainment and attractions at Dave & Buster’s, said in the news release.

A representative for Lucra said that there will be a limit on bets but added that the limit was not something the company could share publicly yet, noting that the average bet between users is $10.

The company also said that it has ‘extensive responsible gaming policies’ and that its partners can configure bet limits.

Dave & Buster’s, which started in 1982, has more than 222 venues in North America, offering everything from bowling to laser tag, plus virtual reality. The company says it has 5 million loyalty members and 30 million unique visitors to its locations each year. The company’s stock is up more than 50% over the past year.

Gambling has in recent years moved from a fringe activity into the mainstream thanks in large part to the legalization of sports gambling in many states, leading to a rush of apps and advertising that has caused some concerns about rises in problem gambling.

The Dave & Buster’s effort appears to be significantly different than sports betting, most notably since players are gambling against each other rather than against the company itself.

Lucra, founded in 2019, makes what it calls ‘gamification services’ that include ‘cash, e-commerce, or cashless contests on partner platforms.’

“We’re creating a new form of kind of a digital experience for folks inside of these ecosystems,” said Michael Madding, Lucra’s chief operating officer. “We’re getting them to engage in a new way and spend more time and money.”

Lucra says its skills-based games are not subject to the same licenses and regulations gambling operators face with games of chance. Lucra is careful not to use the term “bet” or “wager” to describe its games.

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

Lucra’s contests are currently available in 44 states.

The social betting category is a $6 billion industry, according to gaming research firm Eilers & Krejcik. Several companies such as Fliff and Rebet have emerged, hoping to mimic the success of the gambling industry and capture a younger market.

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