MGCB Expresses “Serious Concerns” Over Dave & Buster’s Gambling Format

Written By Corey Sharp on May 8, 2024
Pop-a-shot arcade basketball game. The Michigan gambling regulator isn't sure if Dave & Buster’s gambling plan is legal. However, the MGCB already has

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) told PlayMichigan on Wednesday that it has “serious concerns” about Dave & Buster’s new gambling strategy that would allow customers 18 and older to place real money wagers on arcade games.

The legality of what the sports bar and arcade chain is proposing is also unknown, according to the MGCB. And, if there’s one thing we know about the MGCB, it takes illegal gambling extremely seriously.

There are three Dave & Buster’s spread across the Great Lakes State, located in Livonia, Utica and Kentwood.

MGCB responds to Dave & Buster’s new plans to allow gambling

Dave & Buster’s gambling plan would involve customers 18 and older being able to make wagers up to $10 on arcade games such as basketball and skee-ball. The competition would be tracked on the arcade company’s app.

That plan has opened a new set of questions, not only in Michigan, but across the country.

Based on the limited information the MGCB has, it isn’t sure if what Dave & Buster’s is offering is allowed.

“The MGCB has not heard from Dave & Buster’s and so without detailed information, we don’t yet know if what they are proposing would be legal in the State of Michigan,” MGCB Public Information Officer Lisa Keith said.

Keith went a step further to express the MGCB’s opinion on what it already knows, telling PlayMichigan:

“However, we do have serious concerns about the format of what is being proposed and are keeping an eye on the situation.”

Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois also examining arcade company’s gambling plan

Many other states are also gathering information to determine if what Dave & Buster’s is proposing is even legal. Michigan joins neighboring Ohio as another state that is troubled by the format. Ohio told CNBC last week:

“The Commission does have serious concerns about the proposal – including that it appears to violate Ohio law regarding the facilitating of illegal prizes for skill-based amusement machines. We are reaching out to Dave & Buster’s for additional information.”

An Illinois Representative has already introduced a bill to block the action, while the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) is examining the situation to “learn more,” but did not express concerns in its statement.

Each state is treading this situation differently, but carefully.

MGCB takes illegal gambling seriously

Should Dave & Buster’s gambling plan be deemed illegal, expect the MGCB to shut it down quickly.

The board announced last month the removal of 167 illicit wagering devices throughout the state. It also sent letters to 64 businesses demanding that they shut down operations.

Earlier in March, the MGCB closed multiple illegal gambling locations that included 24 unsanctioned machines. The two men in charge of the operation are facing felony charges.

Clearly, the MGCB does not mess around with illegal gambling.

Photo by Wayne Perry / AP Photo
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp joined Catena Media in 2022 and is the go-to expert for Michigan gambling. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, he previously worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia as a sports journalist and content producer. In Corey’s role as Lead Writer for PlayMichigan, he works alongside a talented team of expert journalists and analysts to bring you the most comprehensive and accurate coverage of gambling news in Michigan. Corey’s contacts around the industry makes him a trusted source. Corey produces daily stories and features about the gambling space. Corey graduated from Holy Family University in Philadelphia with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

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