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Illinois Gaming Market

Myths of the Illinois Video Gaming Industry

October 1, 2019

The Illinois video gaming market can be a confusing place to outsiders and industry experts alike. As the industry continues to grow, misinformation and confusion continue to grow. Here are some common myths and misconceptions we hear from establishment owners surrounding the Illinois video gaming industry.

New call-to-actionIs it “Video Gaming”, “Slots”, “Video Poker”, “Video Slots” or…?

One source of confusion for many in the industry is what to call the actual industry and the machines. Is it video gaming? Is it video gambling? Video slots? Truth is, it just depends on the person(s) talking about it. For instance, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) refers to it as video gaming (hence, the Video Gaming Act) and the machines as Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs).

The IGB describes a Video Gaming Terminal as, “an electronic video game machine that, upon insertion of cash, is available to play or simulate the play of a video game, including but not limited to video poker, line up, and blackjack, as authorized by the Board utilizing a video display and microprocessors in which the player may receive free games or credits that can be redeemed for cash.”

If you are talking to a person that plays the VGTs, most likely they are referring to them as video slots or slot machines – a more common name in their vernacular.

Adding Video Gaming to my location is going to cost me money

There is a $100 application fee to submit an application to the IGB. Once you have been approved by the IGB, the yearly cost will be $100 to maintain a valid establishment license. In addition to the IGB fee, you may also be required by the municipality to pay additional annual gaming related fees, including but not limited to a “sticker fee” for each VGT, gaming establishment license, video gaming supplemental liquor license, etc. This rate varies by municipality, so we recommend getting in contact with your local municipality before applying for your video gaming license.

I can just buy slot machines and put them in my location

In the State of Illinois, to operate video slots, you HAVE to sign contract with a Terminal Operator. The Terminal Operator (TO) is the licensed entity that owns, services, and maintains VGTs for placement in Licensed Video Gaming Locations (licensed Retail Establishments, Truck Stops, Veteran and Fraternal Establishments). An establishment owner cannot buy and operate their own machines in their location.

Other TOs can offer me more

The revenue split is specifically dictated by the Video Gaming Act.  Your terminal operator cannot pay you more than this amount.  The Act mandates the following percentage splits 33% to the state and municipality, 33.07435% to the establishment and 33.07435% to the terminal operator. 0.8513% of the profits go to the Central Communications Service.

Advertise your slot machines with free social media graphicsWhen looking for a TO, it is important to note what kind of support they can offer your establishment from co-op marketing, personalized service, to promotional giveaways. As the largest Terminal Operator in the country, Accel Entertainment has the ability to support your location in a variety of ways. 

There seems to be a variety of misinformation and confusion surrounding the Illinois Video Gaming Market. Whether you have machines, or are thinking of adding machines to your establishment, Accel is here to ensure you are a well-informed consumer.