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Illinois Gaming Market

How to Prepare for Legal Slot Machines in Chicago

September 12, 2018

It’s been the talk of the town for years now – when is video gaming coming to Chicago?  While there are no plans in the immediate future to authorize video gaming in Chicago, it doesn’t hurt to look at the effect this could have on Chicago businesses. Here are some things to consider now if you’re interested in gaming at your Chicago business.

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If Chicago permits video gaming, we have no idea what, if any, additional limitations or requirements the city will add to the existing framework regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board.  However, here are some considerations to start thinking about if you’re a business owner in Chicago:

  • Partner with a reputable operator who has experience developing and getting new locations approved in new markets (like Accel).
  • You’ll need an on-premises liquor license. It’s a requirement for gaming in most licensed establishments. Read more about that here.
  • There could be a limit on the number of licenses Chicago will allow. Other municipalities have limited the license count, while others have no limit.
  • Be prepared for fees. Most municipalities charge an annual licensing fee, on top of the fees charged by the Illinois Gaming Board, which can range from $50 to $1,000.
  • Video gaming is not just a “set it and forget it” business. You’ll need to be prepared to market your games (Accel can help you with your strategy).
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So, what are the financial implications for Chicago businesses wanting video gaming? Fairly minimal input for a good return. The average Accel customer sees $6,027.49 per month* from video gaming revenue alone. In case you don’t have a calculator handy – that’s over $72,000 A YEAR. For larger establishments, it might be a nice cushion. But for smaller businesses, it’s made a huge difference in their business strategy. Many have been able to remodel and add additional staff, in turn driving more traffic to their location. It’s helped some places on the brink of closing down completely turn their business back into a profitable one. Others just love seeing their regulars coming in and enjoying themselves. Whatever your reason for wanting video gaming, there is a strong likelihood of this being a positive revenue opportunity.


Think you’re ready to explore what this could mean for your business? We’re happy to spend time talking through the possibilities of legal gambling in Chicago and how you might be able to be one of the first establishments to get involved. Give us a call today at 312-736-0647.

*Based on data from July 2018. This information can be access publicly via the IGB website: https://www.igb.illinois.gov/VideoReports.aspx.

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