Double Down on Your Fries? Dave and Buster’s Brings Gambling to Their Restaurants

JHVEPhoto /
JHVEPhoto /

Getting in on the sports gambling trend, the binge drinking-focused establishment Dave & Buster’s wants to make your next trip out more competitive. Now, through their app, patrons will be able to wager on Hot Shots basketball, a round of Skee-Ball, or other arcade games against their friends. Launching over the summer at different times across their 222 locations in North America, they pack each venue with a variety of activities.

With over five million loyalty members and 30 million individual visitors to their locations every year, they are betting on this continued loyalty to surge with this new app option. Taking advantage of people’s competitive nature, they are offering rewards and perks for playing more of their games, including free play, food, and beverages. Contests for real cash between people are something new, and they are proud of it.

Simon Murray, senior vice president of entertainment and attractions at Dave & Buster’s, said, “We’re thrilled to work with Lucra to bring this exciting new gaming platform to our customers. 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.”

Caps will be placed on the bet sizes, but they haven’t given an official figure. However, Lucra has said the historical average bet size across their app has been $10. Created back in 2019 by Stanford Graduate School of Business classmates Dylan Robbins and Michael Madding, they saw the rise in sports betting and thought the competition between friends was the next logical step. As Madding said, “We’re creating a new form of kind of a digital experience for folks inside of these ecosystems. We’re getting them to engage in a new way and spend more time and money.”

With Dave & Buster’s typical 18-38 crowd, they are some of the most susceptible in terms of addiction. Already showing significantly more impulse control problems than previous generations, this app will only complicate this problem. At this point, we need to ask how long it will be until we can live bet on people at a driving range in Dubuque, Iowa.