Under current Illinois law, licensed establishments are allowed to operate up to six video gaming terminals (VGTs) per location. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) oversees the licensing, regulation and tax collection of the video gaming industry.
Not every municipality allows video gaming in Illinois. On the IGB website, you can find a breakdown of each municipality in the State and if they allow video gaming. If your municipality doesn’t allowing gaming right now, we are here to help!
In 2018, the average month of video gambling in Illinois generated $123,381,510 in total revenue.
What is Your State-Determined Cut of the Profits?
Net Terminal Income (NTI) is defined as the money put into a VGT minus the credits paid to the player. The State of Illinois receives 33% of the NTI generated from each licensed VGT (of that, 5% goes to the local municipality). Of the remaining 67% of NTI, a company called Scientific Games receives 0.8513% as compensation for maintaining the Central Communications System (CCS), which all VGTs connect to. Finally, the remainder is divided equally between the Terminal Operator (who owns/leases and places the VGTs in locations) and the Licensed Location's business owners.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the slot machine industry for years or you have no experience, there are MANY terms to know and understand. For instance, one source of confusion is what to call the actual industry. Is it video gaming? Is it video gambling? Video slots? Slot machines? Truth is, it just depends on the person(s) talking about it. For instance, the IGB refers to it as video gaming (hence, the Video Gaming Act). But, if you are talking to a person that plays the VGTs, most likely they are referring to them as video slots.
Here are some of the terms and definitions you’ll find in our terms guide:
If you’re new to gaming and wondering how to get started with VGTs, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve outlined some of the most important steps you’ll need to take if you’re looking to add video gaming to your location:
Now that you’ve applied for a license, it’s time to start thinking about where your slot machines will go within your establishment. The placement of your video gaming machines can directly influence how successful you are. Once you’re licensed and ready to go, the last thing you want is lost revenue due to distraction or a poorly planned gaming room.
There are certain things you need to be aware of when designing space for your VGTs, and a few of them are required by law.
From our experience of designing and redesigning gaming rooms, we know what layouts contribute to a successful gaming environment. For instance, privacy can make players much more comfortable, as well as nice chairs and a non-drafty space that’s not too noisy.
There is an art to staffing your video gaming business, and it can be more intricate that you might think. First, hiring the appropriate staff is really important. Whether that means hiring responsible and friendly bartenders, or a dedicated gaming manager, you need to make sure that they are ready and able to perform the functions when it comes to a slot machine area.
Your video gaming application requires that you name someone to be a video gaming manager. If a lot of your business will be focused on gaming, hiring a dedicated person to serve in this role is a great idea. This person would work with your Terminal Operator and manage license renewals. He/she might also manage social media and marketing efforts, customer engagement and promotions.
Staff training will be key once you get slot machines and your Accel Relationship Manager is instrumental in providing you this information.
Gaming is strictly limited to individuals 21 years of age and older. Your staff will need to card patrons in the gaming area (preferably before they enter) and at least one employee who is over 21 years of age must always have a clear line of sight to the entrance to the gaming area.
Your staff should also be prepared if any issues occur, like who to call if anything happens to a video gaming terminal (VGT) or if patrons experience problems with cashout vouchers.
The process for getting licensed as an Illinois Video Gaming Establishment can be a long process, in part depending on your ownership structure. With any licensing process, it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of time it will take to complete. You should not expect to have VGTs immediately after applying. In most cases, you can expect the process to take about 2-3 months. However, certain steps can take longer than others and delay your location going live with video gaming.
So, how can you prevent delays in the process?