Dave & Busters brings in bets on skeeball and other games as gambling creeps into more corners of society

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Dave & Buster’s will now let customers bet against friends on skeeball and other games as it joins the wager wave that has proliferated in the U.S. in recent years.

The new initiative, enabled by gamification services company Lucra, will let D&B loyalty customers over the age of 18 place bets on a number of arcade games through its app. It’s unclear exactly what D&B’s new betting feature will include, but Lucra’s chief operating officer Michael Madding told Fortune that the company’s technology enables small bets of $5 and $10 and offers double or nothing and rematches. Madding declined to confirm a release date for the feature, but he added that Lucra’s technology can be integrated in just a couple of weeks.

“This is about small dollars and playing with your friends and hopefully having a little skin in the game and making that game of basketball or darts a little bit more interesting,” Madding said.

While more than five million loyalty members at Dave & Buster’s will now be able to “digitally compete with each other, earn rewards, and unlock exclusive perks,” according to a Tuesday press release, the company will also benefit. Dave & Buster’s brought in just over $1.4 billion in revenue from “entertainment” in 2023, according to its most recent 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Madding added that Lucra’s tech can help drive traffic to a company’s platform and convince them to stay longer, all while bringing in new direct and indirect revenue streams. The company has already struck partnerships with the Pickleball player rating company Dupr and tennis app TennisONE. 

The news of Dave & Buster’s new betting integration immediately provoked some online teasing but it also raised concerns about the addictiveness of such a feature. 

Lucra, which Madding cofounded in 2019 with fellow ex-Goldman Sachs analyst Dylan Robbins, does not consider itself a betting company, he said. Legally, the company operates under rules and regulations governing “skill-based games,” he said, which are distinct from legal gambling laws. The rules for skill-based games differ by state but generally cover games or competitions that are determined more by a player’s aptitude than by chance. Madding added that the company prefers terms like “challenge” and “contest” over “wager” or “bet.” 

To help with any possible addictiveness, Lucra focuses on small dollar bets and lets its partners like Dave & Buster’s set limits on the technology’s use, he said.

“We have best in class practices and policies and procedures as it relates to responsible gaming and risk management,” Madding said.

The new initiative at Dave & Buster’s is the latest example of wagering that has grown rapidly in the U.S. over the past few years.

In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law against sports betting. Now legal in more than 30 states, sports betting has become a mainstay in the U.S. and developed into a big business opportunity. 

Since 2018, sports betting companies have expanded heavily in the U.S. One of the biggest, FanDuel parent company Flutter Entertainment brought in about $11.8 billion in revenue last year and attracted an average of 12.3 million monthly players, according to its most recent 10K filing with the SEC.

Dave & Buster’s did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

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