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Dave & Buster’s Holding Sports Betting Talks, Says CEO

Posted on: December 10, 2021, 10:12h. 

Last updated on: December 10, 2021, 11:46h.

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment (NASDAQ:PLAY), the restaurant operator known for its wide selection of in-store games, is mulling sports betting and is holding talks to that effect.

Outside a Dave & Buster’s restaurant. The company is considering a move into sports betting. (Image: New York Post)

Chairman and interim CEO Kevin Sheehan made comments along those lines on the company’s third-quarter earnings conference call earlier this week.

I think there’s a bunch of answers in that question because you want to make sure that we develop the right relationship, and we’re talking to a couple of prominent players in that field,” he said. “And when we get that deal done, you want to make sure there’s a deep partnership because we can both benefit by having a deep relationship.”

That was in response to a question from an analyst regarding how quickly the restaurant operator could get into sports wagering if it decides to go down that road.

Sheehan didn’t identify the companies with which Dave & Buster’s is discussing a sports wagering partnership.

The Texas-based firm operates in 140 arcade restaurants in North America spanning 40 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Sports Betting Makes Sense for Dave & Buster’s

Dave & Buster’s restaurants are casual and the company often tries to lure sports fans with extensive offerings of televisions to watch games and bar and grill fare.

It’s a methodology that’s worked for other restaurant chains in terms of sports wagering partnerships. For example, Buffalo Wild Wings has an agreement with BetMGM, while Hooters inked an accord with Rush Street Interactive last year to lure bettors to its restaurants in Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

“We’re working very hard in getting to an agreement on sports betting and fantasy sports. And to me, there’s a great opportunity there, first because of the economics that go along with that agreement,” said Sheehan on the conference call.

Sheehan has gaming industry experience. He joined Scientific Games (NASDAQ:SGMS) in August 2016 as president and chief executive officer — roles he held for nearly two years.

Likely a State-by-State Matter

How sports wagering takes shape at Dave & Buster’s is likely to boil down to a combination of states it has stores in that also permit regulated sports betting.

Looking at the company’s location roster, it has a combined 30 restaurants in California and Texas — states that are nowhere close to allowing online betting. That doesn’t include locations in Florida and New York, where there’s considerable hand-wringing over how mobile betting will be deployed.

In its favor, Dave & Buster’s has stores in sports betting hubs, such as Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, as well as upstart states, including Arizona, Colorado, and Tennessee, among others.

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