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Dave & Buster’s […] recently announced plans to let patrons place real-money bets on the company’s main attraction: its arcade games.

The suburban gaming den’s new betting operation is part of a partnership with Lucra Sports, a technology company that describes its product as “gamification services.” In practical terms, Lucra licenses its software to other businesses, allowing them to integrate certain kinds of betting into their existing apps and websites. Lucra deals in the kinds of bookie-free “peer to peer” bets—say, on the results of a night of bowling or a game of pickup basketball—that might have previously been sealed with a handshake.

The chain is expected to roll out all of this in the coming months, and it will be available only to adults

Beyond that, neither Dave & Buster’s nor Lucra Sports—which both declined to comment—is saying what kinds of betting will be allowed and at what scale.

Gambling on games of skill has a much easier time cruising past legal roadblocks.

Because of these legal distinctions, Lucra Sports—which has financial backing from a host of sports executives and professional athletes, including former Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry and former NFL player Emmanuel Sanders—says its services are legal on some level in 45 US states.

Even in their relatively milquetoast skill-game form, these kinds of betting services normalize something that feels a lot like traditional gambling as most Americans now experience it

Kids too young to grasp how football works or what betting on it might mean will soon be able to encounter a version of it at the arcade, potentially priming them to open their own betting accounts once they hit legal age.

That Dave & Buster’s would decide to dive in right now is best read as an indicator of just how nervous traditional entertainment industries have become about gambling and its capacity to devour their customer base and its disposable income. In its 2022 annual report, Dave & Buster’s identified the spread of legalized gambling as an existential threat, even as the company was continuing to grow and its stock price was soaring.

this move feels motivated more by the fear of being left behind while others profit than by a genuine belief in the value of the product itself.

The vision that’s dancing in executives’ heads, I have no doubt, is something akin to the opportunity to be a little Las Vegas in every American suburb. They should probably be more wary of the likelier—and grimmer—alternative: becoming something closer to most of the other casinos in America, where no parent would ever dream of throwing their kid’s birthday party.

  • UrLogicFails@beehaw.orgOP
    2 months ago

    I remember when this news first leaked, people online were joking about getting into fights over a 200 dollar bet on a kid’s game if skeeball.

    While I’m not sure how common that type of phenomenon would be, I have to agree with the author of this article that I would certainly think twice before bringing a child to a location where gambling is encouraged (especially in conjunction with drinking).