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Is the World Ready for Real Money Skee-Ball?

Skee-Ball is a beloved amusement park and arcade staple that’s been dispensing prize tickets that can be used to win everything from cheap plastic spider rings to giant stuffed animals since 1908. It’s not an industry that’s been ripe for disruption, until now. Earlier this week, Dave and Buster’s (an American arcade/restaurant chain) announced plans to release a real-money version of Skee-Ball to members of its loyalty program via the Dave and Buster’s app.

Partnering with Dave and Buster’s on the deal is the gamification software provider Lucra. While turning carnival games into slot machines may seem jarring to the general public, it’s another day at the shop for Lucra. According to a press release from the company, Lucra has already produced $1 million in revenue off of a $20 million handle for 150,000 customers since 2019.

Simon Murray, SVP of Entertainment and Attractions at Dave and Buster’s was enthusiastic about Lucra partnership saying, “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.”

At Dave and Buster’s, customers using the company’s loyalty app will be able to compete against each other for prizes and, presumably, cash while playing Skee-Ball and Hot Shots basketball. It’s not hard to picture a future where Skee-Ball machines no longer dispense prize tickets, but are completely integrated with loyalty apps for dispensing prizes. While that might be good business, it sounds a whole lot less fun than seeing a child proudly carrying around $50 worth of prize tickets on his or her way to collect a three cent spider ring.