Illinois Putting the Brakes on Dave & Buster’s

Illinois Amusement Game Wagering Bill to Prevent 'Amusement Wagering'

To most people, it was just harmless fun when Dave & Buster’s announced it would soon allow customers to make wagers against each other. The State of Illinois sees it a little differently. Last week Rep. Dan Didech introduced the Family Amusement Wagering Prohibition Act. That would prevent companies from allowing friendly wagers placed on their games. Didech has plenty of support, as more than 25 legislators signed-on as co sponsors of the bill.

The Illinois amusement game wagering bill states “No family amusement establishment shall facilitate wagering on amusement games. Facilitating wagering on amusement games includes, but is not limited to, taking any action that knowingly allows any entity to facilitate gambling on amusement games on the family amusement establishment’s premises.”

The Illinois amusement game wagering bill also prevents “advertising that promotes wagering on amusement games.” The bill had its first reading and was referred to the state’s Rules Committee. The current legislative session will last several more weeks. Didech was hopeful the matter would be taken up before adjournment.

“It is inappropriate for family-friendly arcades to facilitate unregulated gambling on their premises,” Didech said in a statement. “These businesses simply do not have the ability to oversee gambling activity in a safe and responsible manner.”

The wagering on Dave & Buster’s games isn’t quite the same as sports betting online. There will be low wagering limits, expected to be in the neighborhood of $10 or $20. Lucra, the company Dave & Buster’s partnered with to offer wagering, says the average bet on its offerings is close to $10.

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Are Games Decided by Skill?

Luca and Dave & Buster’s claim their games are decided by the skills of the competitors. Didech disagrees and used an example of how luck could influence a game of Hot Shots basketball.

“What regulations are in place?” he said. “Are the hoops the same diameter? Or are the balls all inflated the same? Or are the return mechanisms programmed so it’s a fair game? The answer is that’s not happening. I’ve played pop-a-shot and waited 15 seconds for the ball and the person I’m playing against is getting ball after ball after ball, it’s not because he’s better, it was bad luck I was at a station the balls were getting caught.”

This is peer-to-peer betting, however, so nobody has to make a friendly wager if they feel they’re at a disadvantage. It isn’t making a Spread bet. Still, Didech believes it resembles gambling too much.

“Gambling entities, businesses involved in Illinois and elsewhere, it’s a heavily regulated sector for a whole host of good reasons,” he said. “When the press reports came out earlier this week that Dave & Busters was in partnership to begin unregulated and unlicensed gambling games on-premise, that raises a whole host of issues of if it’s possible in a way we consider safe and responsible.”

What Dave & Buster’s is offering on its games will never be confused with point spread betting. It was enough to catch the attention of Didech, however, and that was all it took for the Illinois amusement game wagering bill to be introduced.

For gambling news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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