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How Much Does it Cost to Start an Arcade Business?

Starting an arcade business can be an exciting venture for those passionate about providing entertainment and nostalgia to a wide audience. However, the startup costs can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the location, size of the arcade, types of games offered, and level of renovation required for the space. In this blog post, we will break down the various costs associated with opening an arcade business to help you understand the financial commitment involved.

Initial Investment

Lease or Purchase of Space

The first significant expense is the lease or purchase of a suitable space. Costs can vary widely based on location. For a prime location in a city center, expect to pay a premium, whereas spaces in smaller towns or on the outskirts of a city might be more affordable. Monthly rent for a decent-sized space can range from $2,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the area's cost of living.

Renovation and Decoration

The condition of the space you lease or purchase will significantly influence your renovation costs. Transforming an empty space into a vibrant, welcoming arcade can cost anywhere from $10,000 to over $50,000. This includes electrical upgrades for the machines, lighting, painting, flooring, and thematic decorations to create an appealing environment for your customers.

Arcade Machines

The heart of your business will be the arcade machines themselves. Prices vary widely based on whether you buy new, used, or lease machines. A new arcade game can cost between $3,000 and $8,000, while used machines might range from $1,000 to $5,000. For a diverse and engaging arcade, you may need at least 10-20 machines to start, leading to an initial game investment of $20,000 to $100,000 or more.

Licenses and Permits

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is crucial and can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. This will depend on your local city and state regulations, including business licenses, amusement licenses, and health and safety permits.


Insurance is a must to protect your business from potential liabilities. Costs will vary based on the size of your arcade and the coverage amounts, but expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 per year for a comprehensive insurance policy.

Operating Expenses

Don't forget about operating expenses, including utilities, maintenance for machines, payroll for employees, and marketing to attract customers. These costs can add up to several thousand dollars a month.

Additional Considerations

Food and Beverage

Offering food and beverages can significantly increase your revenue but also your initial setup costs and operating expenses. This includes the cost of kitchen equipment, inventory, and additional permits and inspections.

Marketing and Advertising

Allocating funds for marketing and advertising is crucial to attract customers to your new business. Initial marketing campaigns could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the scale and channels used.

Total Startup Costs

Given these variables, the total cost to start an arcade business can range from $75,000 to over $200,000. This broad range reflects the significant differences in choices business owners must make regarding location, size, game selection, and additional offerings.


Starting an arcade business is an investment that requires careful planning and consideration. While the startup costs can be significant, the potential for creating a popular entertainment destination makes it an appealing venture for many entrepreneurs. By understanding and carefully managing these startup costs, you can set the foundation for a successful and profitable arcade business.

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