Fear it could promote underage gambling

Nevada regulators reject Dave & Buster's arcade betting proposal

Reading time 1:14 min

Nevada gaming regulators have rejected Dave & Buster's plans to allow betting on arcade games.

The decision from the regulator came after the arcade and restaurant chain disclosed that it was exploring the idea of allowing adults 18 and older to place real-time bets with friends on arcade games.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Kirk Hendrick said that enforcement agents had discussions with Dave & Buster's management, and it has been decided that the company wouldn’t offer wagering as the agents took a hardline stance “against unlicensed gaming,” The Nevada Independent reported.

Dave & Buster's operates locations in Summerlin and Henderson. The arcade and restaurant chain had announced that it was considering offering customers an opportunity to wager real money on select games, such as Skee-Ball and billiards instead of the traditional model where players earn tickets redeemable for prizes.

Partnering with Lucra, a software company specializing in real-money "gamification" software, Dave & Buster's planned to develop a digital wagering platform accessible through its loyalty club app. The collaboration sought to capitalize on the growing trend of peer-to-peer betting, but it raised questions about its legality.

Hendrick stated that the control board opposes activities that could promote underage gambling and wagering by businesses catering to a significant number of minors. Dave & Buster's is also facing opposition from casino regulators in other states, including Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

In Illinois, a bipartisan bill proposing a ban on gambling activities at family entertainment venues was recently filed. Illinois State Rep. Daniel Didech, leading the effort, argued that family-friendly businesses cannot enforce appropriate safeguards for problem gamblers and that offering betting options increases the risk of exposing young adults to gambling.

In Ohio, the state gambling regulator, the Ohio Gaming Control Board, indicated that such an offering may violate existing laws.

Currently, Dave & Buster's has two locations in Nevada, with a third under construction at The Summit Mall in south Reno.

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