Well, if the Mega-Millions comes up in Washington, I may have a go at this.
I figure (back of envelope) that you're looking at around $3M to get started with a chance of staying in business, and possibly another $500K - $1M for the first year, depending on how long it takes to get cash-flow-positive. This is assuming that you are starting from scratch; if you are buying out an existing operation, I suspect you are looking at more like $5-8M.
Strikes me that starting a card-room is cheaper than a casino, and probably of a similar cost to starting a small 20 table restaurant.
You need to figure out how you are going to make money at this
, and how much money you need to make to stay afloat before the gaming equivalent of Gordon Ramsey shows up on your doorstep and swears at you.
- You will probably need/want a liquor license, which may be a hassle right there.
- You will need a public card room license.
- You'll need staff; dealers, floor, servers, cleaners, maintenance, bouncer (er, security), back-room people (admin, maintenance, IT...). Maybe not too many to start with.
- You'll need gambling licenses for the owner, card room employees, etc.
- Are you going to be open all hours, or just nights/weekends/some fraction? Affects staff costs, cleaning, maintenance...
- Are you going to serve food? What sort? How much? You'll need food handling permits and licenses. Or you might be able to do a deal with some local eatery to service your building but that will also cost and you'll still need the permits.
- You'll need a location. Here in scenic Western Washington, there are a lot of card-rooms and 'casinos' around and a few up for sale at any given time. Some are about the size of a Denny's and have about the same ambiance. You're probably better off buying an existing building and refurbing it. Might be worth finding out why the current casino went tits-up.
- You'll need chips, racks, cards, uniforms for the staff.
- You'll need insurance, both for the building and the staff and the patrons.
- You'll need an advertizing and PR budget, to get butts in seats.