How to Start an Amusement Arcade Business

Updated April 17, 2017

To start an amusement arcade business, you need to get a license in many states. An amusement arcade is a business where an individual, partnership, association or a corporation of Limited Liability Company maintains at least 14 amusement devices. Amusement devices are those devices that are available to the public for use as entertainment, amusement, game, etc. upon insertion of a slug, token, coin, disc or plate. This does not include radios, televisions, bowling lanes, etc.

Find an appropriate location. Location is very crucial, since it attracts children, teenagers or young adults. This may be most probably near schools, shopping centres, malls or residential areas, which ensures substantial amount of traffic.

Write a business plan. A business plan can help you to better understand and organise any business, to plan for long term or as a presentation to a financial institution for funding. In a business plan, include your business overview, market research of the business climate in the entertainment industry of your locality and details of your competitors, a marketing plan showing how you will advertise and promote business and attract customers, pro forma financial statements and contracts or legal documents, if any. Include your scale of operations as well.

Get the required license and permits required for arcade business by approaching the local authorities. There are some zoning laws in some areas limiting the size and location of an arcade business. Seek approval from the zoning board before starting. There will be a fee for the initial application.

Advertise your business by placing advertisements in local papers, Yellow Pages, local radio stations and Internet and by distributing flyers at supermarkets. Create an attractive brochure emphasising your services and any differentiations, if any.

Provide popular arcade games. You can specialise to a particular demographic profile like young adults, teenagers or a family entertainment. Based on the demographics of your location, this can be decided. After a market survey, introduce an interesting combination of games.

Include a food and beverage stand in addition to standard games. Vending machines for food, soda and candy can enhance value of your business. Explore other possible alternatives.


In case of a large investment, do not hesitate to obtain financing from banks or credit unions. Some of the games may require a large investment. Keep abreast with latest games and get the latest equipments.

Things You'll Need

  • Arcade games
  • Coin or token change machines
  • Tables and Chairs
  • Insurance
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About the Author

Alexander Cequea has been writing since 2008. He is an activist, speaker and film producer whose work has been featured in "Enlightennext Magazine" and the Environmental News Network. Cequea is currently producing a documentary about sustainability and consciousness. He has a Master of Business Administration in sustainable business from Maharashi University.