With governor's approval, Alaska Dave & Buster's inches closer to reality

Gov. Bill Walker on Tuesday signed a bill that paves the way for a Dave & Buster's location to open in Alaska.

Senate Bill 157 updates state law to clarify that gambling doesn't include arcade-style amusement games of skill (as opposed to chance) where people can win small, non-cash prizes.

The bill was created specifically with the Dallas-based entertainment and restaurant chain in mind: Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, sponsored the bill and referred to it as the "Dave & Buster's Bill."

"Creating more jobs for Alaskans and spurring economic growth are two of the highest priorities of this administration," Walker said in a news release. "I applaud Sen. McGuire for bringing this legislation forward, and working with local developers to bring more business opportunities to our state."

Hugh Ashlock, one of the owners of Dimond Center mall in Anchorage, said in a hearing earlier this year that a Dave & Buster's location on the top level of the mall would require a 44,000-square-foot addition. But the chain wanted a clarification in state law before moving forward with plans.

The Dimond Center said in a press release Tuesday that the location, near Regal Dimond Center 9 Cinemas, is slated to open in 2017.

Pending necessary permits, it will be the first Dave & Buster's in Alaska. John Mulleady, Dave & Buster's vice president of development, said in the release that the company is looking forward to beginning construction.

Ashlock said that accommodating the business will also require raising the roof by 8 feet.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.