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Illinois Gaming Market

What Should You Look For in a Terminal Operator?

March 8, 2018

At this point, you’ve probably already done some research to see if video gaming is right for your business. The next major step (once you’ve decided you want video slot machines) is finding a Terminal Operator (“T.O.”) that meets (and hopefully exceeds) your needs. This is an imperative step in getting slot machines. Here’s some information that will be helpful in your search.

 What is a Terminal Operator anyway?

According to the Illinois Video Gaming Act, “Terminal Operator” means an individual, partnership, Download our guide to see the 7 questions you should ask to see if gaming is right for your establishmentcorporation, or limited liability company that is licensed under this Act and that owns, services, and maintains video gaming terminals for placement in licensed establishments, licensed truck stop establishments, licensed fraternal establishments, or licensed veterans establishments. In short, a T.O. handles everything related to the actual VGTs: maintenance and service of the VGTs, collection of money from the VGTs, and paying a licensed location its share of the revenue.

Why do I need one?

Basically, because the law says so. In order to have VGTs in your facility, you must be licensed by the Illinois Gaming Board and have a Use Agreement with a licensed T.O.  A Use Agreement is the contract between you and a Terminal Operator that sets forth the terms and conditions under which VGTs will be provided to you in your establishment.  In addition, your T.O. should really be a subject matter expert on the gaming industry in your municipality and state. Without a reputable T.O., you might not receive the best service, the best products or even helpful compliance updates and information on the video gaming industry. Your T.O. should also provide guidance on how to submit necessary applications and how your gaming area should be laid out.

What should I look for in a Terminal Operator?

Your T.O. should be your partner in your business, in every aspect of the word. When you’re meeting with a potential T.O., you should be asking important questions that are vital to your business operations once you have video gaming. Be sure to ask:

  • How often will the T.O. visit your location once you go live with video gaming? Do you have an account manager you can call whenever you have a question about the machines or video gaming in general?
  • What does their preventative maintenance program look like? Will they service the machines on a regular basis? How long will it take for a technician to come out and fix a machine that goes down?
  • How often are collections done? What is the process for the collections team (e.g. what time will they come in, how discreet are they)?
  • How often will you get paid out? Will you have anyone to fully explain your revenue statements to you?
  • Do they have an optimization strategy for your specific, unique business?
  • What ideas do they have for set-up and location of the VGTs?

Doing your research on a T.O. is a smart move prior to signing a Use Agreement. Don’t be afraid to ask difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, questions. You should feel confident that whomever you choose will have your best interests in mind at all times.


Are you looking to start a slot machine business?  Click here for a full guide!

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