Dave & Buster’s In-App Betting Function Faces Regulatory Scorn in Multiple States

Posted on: May 17, 2024, 02:37h. 

Last updated on: May 17, 2024, 08:58h.

Dave & Buster’s announced the rollout of peer-to-peer betting within its D&B Rewards mobile application this month. The news quickly garnered pushback from state lawmakers and regulators in commercial gaming states.

Dave & Buster's arcade betting mobile app
Dave & Buster’s guests shoot hoops. Dave & Buster’s plans to bring arcade betting to its app is causing pushback from state lawmakers and gaming regulators. Dave & Buster’s reps say the betting feature won’t run in states that wish to have it excluded. (Image: Dave & Buster’s)

Ohio was among the first to respond, as the state’s gaming commission said it has “serious concerns” about betting being facilitated for arcade games. Illinois lawmakers spoke out too, and a bill seeking to prohibit the restaurant-arcade company from allowing the in-app betting function cleared an Illinois House committee on Thursday.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), often referred to as the “gold standard” of gaming regulation, has additionally motioned to exclude the betting feature from the D&B app.

Dave & Buster’s says the betting capability is simply to provide adults aged 18 and up a convenient way to make friendly wagers amongst themselves. The company said in announcing the wagering feature that the integration is part of the organization’s “commitment to continuing to elevate our customer experience through innovative, cutting-edge technology.”

No Betting in Nevada

After the NGCB this week said it would recommend to the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) that it adopt a regulation banning arcades from facilitating any form of social peer-to-peer betting, Dave & Buster’s announced the betting function would be disabled within the Silver State.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board takes a hardline stance against any company that may be engaged in unlicensed gaming. Furthermore, the NGCB consistently opposes activities that could promote underage gambling,” said Kirk Hendrick, NGCB chair.

Dave & Buster’s currently has two locations in Southern Nevada and is preparing to open a third in Reno.

Illinois lawmakers are mulling a bill that would ban arcades from allowing unregulated gambling on their premises. House Bill 394, the Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act, cleared the House Gaming Committee unanimously on Thursday.

The state of Illinois closely regulates our robust gaming industry to ensure that businesses are operating in a manner that is fair for players and safe for families,” said Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), chief sponsor of the legislation. “We do not need gambling to irresponsibly expand into family-friendly environments.”

With the House Gaming Committee’s blessing, the statute moves to the full House floor for consideration.

Along with the Ohio Gaming Commission, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is also reviewing the Dave & Buster’s app betting plan.

D&B Locations

As of April, Dave & Buster’s reported operating 162 locations in the US. California and Texas have the most locations, and neither state allows commercial casinos or legal sports betting. California has 21 Dave & Buster’s locations while Texas has 15. New York is home to 13 D&B’s, the only other state with at least 10.

The D&B Rewards app provides users with loyalty points that can be used for free food, drinks, and gameplay credits. The app also allows users to fund their player’s card without having to visit an in-store kiosk or cashier.

The app additionally provides users with the option of making dining reservations and completing arcade challenges against other users.