Arcade machines have long been a staple in entertainment venues, providing fun and excitement for people of all ages. Whether you’re planning to open a new arcade, expand a family entertainment center, or simply add a touch of nostalgia to your business, selecting the right arcade machine supplier is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about finding the perfect supplier and setting up your arcade, from costs and licensing requirements to profitability and energy consumption.

Finding the Right Arcade Machine Suppliers

Range of Products

When selecting arcade machine suppliers, the range of products they offer is a critical factor. Leading suppliers in the UK provide a wide variety of machines, including:

  • Classic Arcade Games: Timeless favorites like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong.
  • Modern Video Games: The latest and most popular video games that attract younger audiences.
  • Pinball Machines: Both vintage and modern pinball machines that offer a tactile gaming experience.
  • Redemption Games: Machines that dispense tickets or prizes, popular in family entertainment centers.
  • Racing and Shooting Games: Interactive and immersive games that provide a thrilling experience.

It’s essential to find a supplier that can meet your specific needs and preferences. A diverse range of options allows you to tailor your arcade to appeal to various demographics, ensuring a broad customer base.

Quality of Machines

The quality of the arcade machines is paramount. Look for suppliers who provide well-maintained and durable equipment. High-quality machines ensure smooth operation and longevity, which is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and reducing downtime. Some suppliers offer refurbished machines, which can be a cost-effective option without compromising on quality. These machines are typically restored to a high standard, providing a like-new experience at a reduced cost.

Customer Service

Customer service is a key consideration when choosing an arcade machine supplier. Excellent support, including maintenance and repair services, is vital for minimizing downtime and keeping your arcade running efficiently. Additionally, a good supplier should provide assistance with installation and setup, ensuring that your machines are ready to play from day one. Look for suppliers with a reputation for reliability and professionalism, as this can significantly impact your business operations.


The reputation of the supplier is another important factor. Read reviews and ask for references to ensure that you are working with a trustworthy company. Reputable suppliers often have long-standing relationships with their clients and are known for their reliability and professionalism. Choosing a supplier with a solid reputation can give you confidence in the quality of their products and services.

How Much Does It Cost to Start an Arcade Business in the UK?

Starting an arcade business in the UK involves several costs, including:

  1. Arcade Machines: The cost of arcade machines can vary widely depending on the type, age, and condition. New machines typically range from £1,000 to £10,000 each, while refurbished machines can be more affordable.
  2. Location and Rent: The cost of renting or purchasing a location is a significant expense. Rent prices vary depending on the size and location of the property. High-traffic areas tend to be more expensive but can attract more customers.
  3. Renovation and Setup: Renovating the space to create an attractive and functional arcade environment can be costly. This includes flooring, lighting, décor, and electrical work.
  4. Licenses and Permits: Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits to operate an arcade involves additional costs. These vary by location and the type of arcade you plan to operate.
  5. Marketing and Promotion: Launching a successful arcade requires effective marketing and promotion to attract customers. Budgeting for advertising, signage, and promotional events is essential.
  6. Staffing: Hiring and training staff to manage the arcade, assist customers, and maintain machines is an ongoing expense.

In total, starting an arcade business in the UK can cost anywhere from £50,000 to £200,000 or more, depending on the scale and scope of the project.

Do I Need a Licence for an Arcade Machine?

In the UK, operating arcade machines typically requires a license. The type of license needed depends on the nature of the machines and the prizes offered. Here are some common types of licenses:

  • Gaming Machine Permit: Required for venues that offer gaming machines, such as fruit machines or slot machines. This permit is necessary if the machines offer cash prizes.
  • Prize Gaming Permit: Needed for machines that offer non-cash prizes, such as toys or tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.
  • Premises License: Required if you plan to serve alcohol on the premises. This license is issued by the local council and includes conditions related to the sale of alcohol.
  • Entertainment License: Depending on the nature of your arcade, you may need an entertainment license. This is particularly relevant if you plan to host live events or performances.

It’s important to check with your local council to determine the specific licenses and permits required for your arcade. Compliance with licensing regulations is essential to avoid legal issues and ensure smooth operation.

How Much is a Custom Arcade Machine?

The cost of a custom arcade machine can vary significantly based on several factors, including:

  • Design and Features: Custom machines with unique designs, branded artwork, and special features can be more expensive. High-end components, large screens, and advanced technology add to the cost.
  • Type of Game: The complexity and type of game also influence the price. Classic arcade games may be less expensive to customize compared to modern, high-definition video games with complex graphics and gameplay.
  • Production Quantity: Ordering a single custom machine is typically more expensive per unit compared to ordering multiple machines. Bulk orders can reduce the cost per machine.

On average, a custom arcade machine can cost anywhere from £2,000 to £10,000 or more. The investment in a custom machine can be worthwhile if it helps differentiate your arcade and attract more customers.

Are Arcades Profitable?

Arcades can be profitable businesses, but success depends on several factors:

  1. Location: Choosing the right location is crucial. High-traffic areas with a steady flow of potential customers, such as shopping centers, tourist attractions, and entertainment districts, are ideal.
  2. Variety of Games: Offering a diverse range of games that appeal to different age groups and interests can attract a broader customer base. Combining classic games with modern favorites ensures there is something for everyone.
  3. Marketing and Promotion: Effective marketing and promotion are essential for attracting and retaining customers. This includes online marketing, social media presence, special events, and promotions.
  4. Customer Experience: Providing an enjoyable and memorable experience is key to retaining customers. This includes friendly staff, a clean and welcoming environment, and well-maintained machines.
  5. Revenue Streams: Diversifying revenue streams can enhance profitability. In addition to game revenue, consider offering food and beverages, merchandise, and hosting private events or parties.
  6. Cost Management: Keeping operating costs under control is important for profitability. This includes managing rent, utilities, staff wages, and maintenance expenses.

With the right approach, an arcade can generate significant revenue. Successful arcades often see a return on investment within the first few years of operation.

Do Arcade Cabinets Use a Lot of Electricity?

Arcade cabinets do consume electricity, but the amount varies depending on the type and age of the machine. Factors that influence electricity usage include:

  • Type of Machine: Older machines with CRT monitors tend to consume more electricity compared to newer machines with LED or LCD screens. Modern machines are generally more energy-efficient.
  • Usage: The amount of time the machines are in use each day affects electricity consumption. Machines that are frequently used will consume more power.
  • Power Management: Some arcade machines have power-saving features, such as automatic shutdown when not in use. Implementing power management strategies can reduce electricity usage.

On average, an arcade machine consumes between 150 to 300 watts of power. Running a machine for 10 hours a day can use approximately 1.5 to 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. With multiple machines in an arcade, the total electricity consumption can add up, making it important to consider energy-efficient options and manage usage effectively.

In conclusion, setting up a successful arcade involves careful planning and consideration of various factors, from selecting the right suppliers and managing costs to ensuring compliance with licensing requirements and optimizing profitability. By focusing on these key areas, you can create an engaging and profitable entertainment venue that attracts and retains customers.