Dave and Buster’s — a national chain of restaurants with video arcades — wants to expand in Iowa and give customers prizes like PlayStations and iPads. Iowa law, however, limits the value of prizes for “concession games” In retail establishments to no more than $100.
David Adelman, a lobbyist for Dave and Buster’s, is urging Iowa legislators to lift the limit and let the business to come to Iowa.
“The construction investment, the property taxes, the sales taxes to the state — I mean, states around the country have seen this as a no-brainer,” Adelman said today during a senate subcommittee meeting. “Again, it’s a job-creating opportunity. This is a family-friendly environment.”
Similar establishments in Iowa such as Chuck E. Cheese’s or Fun City operate under the $100 limit. The bill Adelman was commenting on would raise the limit to $950. The state’s gambling industry warns it’s a slippery slope that could make “amusement devices” in these establishments similar to casino games.
Senator Dan Dawson, a Republican from Council Bluffs, said he patronizes a Dave and Buster’s across the border in Omaha.
“We’ve had a Dave and Buster’s I believe for probably the past 10 years and casinos for at least 20 to 25 (years),” Dawson said. “I’ve never heard anyone in my metro area talk about a canabalizing or businesses or competing operations or anything along those lines.”
Dave and Busters, a Dallas-based business, operates more than 100 locations around the country. The bill it backs in the Iowa legislature must pass a committee by the end of next week or the proposal will be ineligible for consideration again this year.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)