The following story is a great example for those of you who are looking into opening up you own entertainment business and how certain cities work hard to make potential owners jump through a lot of hoops to do what they dream of. In Burbank, CA, a man named Daniel Moss is trying to start his own gaming center which seems to work like your typical game café or center with about forty game consoles setup to play. From the story there is no indication that the owner is using any coin-operated games or even networked PCs although the business will be called GameLAN’d and his focus is to create a friendly spot for people to come in and enjoy the social side of gaming together.
One thing that strikes me as burdensome however are all of the hoops he has to jump through because the business is considered an arcade. This shows how much of a pain in the butt it is to open an arcade in Burbank – not only do you need approval from several parts of the city government (which seems to be common in many areas) but every single game has to be visible from the entrance – a difficult proposition for some locations to pull off. A rigorous ID system will be employed by the owner for people who come in and the hours of operation need to satisfy the city as well but the owner has to provide room to store up to 24 bicycles. The story does not mention any fees the owner also has to face just to get started, but they are likely to be in place.Either way, we wish good luck to GameLAN’d, even though they don’t fit into the traditional arcade setting that we champion here, although they may as well through a couple of coin-operated games in there since they are classified as an arcade anyways. 🙂
This makes me grateful that the city where my arcade is located in has very few rules in place regarding arcades – all I had to do was pick a location where there was enough available parking which is easily covered by being in a mall. But I didn’t have to go before a city council and beg for their holy permission to do what I planned and bow before their whims in case they didn’t like it. I understand there are reasons why all cities have certain rules for different types of businesses but it seems like arcades are easy targets for city governments to clamp down on (and you might wonder why arcades are not as common in the US as they used to be). So let this be a good reminder to check with your city as to what their requirements will be towards opening an arcade before you get too far into the process – otherwise you might have to make a lot of changes to achieve what you want after you have already spent some time and effort putting something else together.