The era in which a popular game franchise practically had to have an arcade installment was coming to a close in 1988, but it wasn't over yet. It still was common for a game to establish itself as a hit in the arcade, and then have either a compromised or completely different game appear as the home console port. Castlevania/Akumajou Dracula was one of most notable exceptions that wasn't developed by Nintendo, having already had two successful entries on the NES/Famicom Disk System. That was apparently the magic number to make someone at Konami think that it was about time for an arcade game.
Alright, fine...technically the first arcade Castlevania game was VS. Castlevania, which was released in American arcades in 1987. I'm not going to count that though, simply because it was just Konami test marketing NES games (there were other Konami VS. arcade games as well) in arcades before the home versions were released. It was the NES Castlevania game inside of an arcade cabinet, with some adjustments to make the game more difficult so that it could take as much of your money as possible.