Bangor Daily News
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PORTLAND, Maine — Portland officials are considering changing the fee structure for businesses offering gaming devices after owners of a popular arcade bar complained about exorbitant licensing fees.
The owners of Arcadia National Bar were recently hit with $18,000 in liquor licensing fees while preparing to move their popular Portland arcade bar and restaurant to a larger location, the Bangor Daily News reported on Sept. 16.
Now, city officials seem prepared to wipe out most of those fees while also changing the way fees are calculated. The measure would also refund thousands of dollars’ worth of fees for the arcade bar, which is set to open this fall.
Arcadia’s complaints prompted an internal staff review, and council could now change a provision in the city charter that charges bar owners $153 per amusement device, a category that includes pool tables, dart boards, pinball games and video consoles.
“We recognize the issues that were brought forward and have sought to fix those issues,” City Manager Jon Jennings said, adding that there was “an element of fairness” to Arcadia’s claims they were overcharged.
Jennings sponsored an amendment to the city code that would cap the $153 charge per game at 25 games, charging $10 per game beyond that total. The new fee structure would reduce Arcadia’s licensing fees by roughly $10,000.
The amendment regarding licensing fees is expected to be voted on at the next council meeting on Oct. 18. The council voted unanimously to approve Arcadia’s license application Monday night.
Arcadia National Bar recently moved to 504 Congress St., expanding their operation but needed the licenses from the city to open. They had around two or three dozen gaming devices in their old space on Preble Street, from video game consoles, pinball machines and vintage arcade games like Galaga and NBA Jam. That total made for a manageable set of fees. Bar owners Dave Aceto and Nicole Costas-Rosa plan for more than 100 gaming devices in the new location.
Bar owners raised more than $56,000 toward the reopening through a crowdfunding campaign last winter, receiving 687 donations.
Bangor Daily News