If you have slot machines in your establishment, you might think the hard part is over (that is, finding a Terminal Operator, going through the process of licensing and getting your gaming area set-up). You also might think a “set it and forget it” mentality works, since your Terminal Operator takes care of a lot of the heavy lifting. But there are still some video gaming-related mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Mistake 1: Not Following the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) Rules and Regulations
Yes, there are strict rules you must abide by if you are licensed by the IGB to have slot machines. No, there is not any wiggle room when it comes to violations. We’ve outlined some ways to avoid IGB fines here, but it’s worth noting that you should always ask your Terminal Operator (or Relationship Manager here at Accel) if you have any specific questions about compliance. Here are some quick tips to make sure you’re following the rules:
- Make sure that your patrons in the gaming area are at least 21 years of age. This is an easy situation to avoid with proper staff training and signage, but also ranks up there as one of the most common violations for which the IGB will issue a fine. Each staff member should be checking the gaming area regularly. Ensure you have signs up that clearly state the area is only available to the 21 and over crowd.
- Are you updating your contact information as it changes? Let your Terminal Operator know immediately if you’ve changed ownership, names, address, etc. Failure to do so may result in a hefty fine and in some cases, revocation of your license.
- Has a VGT stopped working? You’ll need to call your Terminal Operator immediately, not only to avoid a possible decrease in revenue, but to also stay compliant with the IGB.
Mistake 2: Not Taking Care of Your Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs)
Your Terminal Operator should take care of most of the preventative maintenance related to your VGTs, but there are things you can do to keep them in working order and thus, maximize play time during your open hours.
- Never use chemical cleaners on the VGT screens. It’s best to wipe down any spills or prints with a clean, soft cloth lightly dampened with warm water.
- Keep the gaming area no more than 75 degrees.
- Wipe down chairs with warm water and mild soap.
- Never allow smoking in your location (not only will it ruin the machines, it is against Illinois law).
Mistake 3: Not Getting to Know Your Customers
Are your customers mostly male or female? What age range? Do they like to talk while they play, or be left alone? Taking the time to get to know your patrons, and especially your slot players, will go a long way. Find out what their favorite soft drink is and offer it when they come in to play. Find out what kind of music they like and get the TouchTunes going for them. These are small tokens of your appreciation for their patronage, but go a long way when it comes to how customers choose where to spend their free time.
Mistake 4: Not Training Your Staff
Your employees are trained in many aspects of the food and beverage industry: bartending training, security training, food handling, etc. You’ll need to make sure they are trained in the video gaming industry as well. This includes providing them with information on:
- Who may be in the gaming area and when (carding hard to ensure all patrons are over the age of 21)
- When the machines may be in play (only during the hours of operation provided to the IGB)
- What to do when a VGT stops working
- What to do when there is a voucher issue
- How to properly close and open each morning to eliminate any security issues
When in doubt, reach out to your Relationship Manager for suggestions on how to better train your employees in handling slot machines in your location.
Do you have any other mistakes video gaming locations should avoid?