The Dave and Busters Lesson



You go to a Dave and Busters, Round 1, or similar arcade where the games spit out tickets redeemable for prizes.
You can teach your child how the arcade is effectively selling tickets for a high price when you buy-in and then buying them back cheaply by exchanging prizes for them at prices that “devalue” the tickets.

Basic Lesson

  • The average game earns 20 tickets and costs $2 to play
Start with $100
Prize Menu (these were real prizes I found in D&Bs):


  1. How many tickets per $1 do you get when you play (ie earn)?
  1. How about when you cash out? The real-world value of the prizes determines the exchange rate you are basically selling the tickets back to the arcade at.
    1. Note: kids need to find out what each item’s real world value is to do this correctly. So they get practice using internet search to get info.
  1. Do different prizes have different exchange rates?

Extending the lesson

[You could extend this to a business lesson by explaining the arcade’s fixed costs (rent, game machines, build-out) and variable costs (prizes, labor) and how the customer traffic bridges the payback.]