How to Start an Illinois Slot Machine Business

J&J Gaming, family-owned and operated since 1929,  is a trusted gaming and amusements partner. Our focus has always been to provide our establishments with world-class service, and business owners who work with us can rely on guidance and support throughout their entire video gaming experience. With our dedication to service and our partnership, you can significantly improve your business.

A Brief History of Video Gaming in Illinois

Ever since the Riverboat Gambling Act was established in 1990, Illinois slot machines and other forms of gambling have grown rapidly across the state. Nearly 20 years later in 2009, the Video Gaming Act was enacted, allowing licensed establishments such as bars, restaurants, truck stops, and veteran locations to place up to five Illinois slot machines in their buildings. Now, establishments are permitted to have up to six video slot machines and large truck stops can have up to 10. To find out if you qualify, contact J&J Gaming

Each establishment is authorized and monitored by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). They manage the licensing process for video gambling in Illinois and are also in charge of enforcing the proper laws for establishments and other parties that handle Illinois slot machines. The Illinois Gaming Board also maintains the integrity of the Illinois gaming machines through regular inspections. In addition, the board manages the tax collection of both riverboat casinos and video gaming establishments.

The Illinois gaming machine industry is continually on the rise throughout the state. A quick search through the Illinois gaming revenue reports shows how both revenue and licensed locations have increased over the years.

What You Need to Know About Light & Wonder™ and Illinois Slot Machines

Every Illinois slot machine across the state is connected to a central communications system, also known as a CCS. While the Illinois Gaming Board monitors the laws and regulations of Illinois gaming machines, they have contracted a company called Light & Wonder™ to develop and control this technical framework.

The CCS software allows Light & Wonder™ to remotely inspect, track, and even disconnect any Illinois gaming machines, depending on the needs and requests of the Illinois Gaming Board. The system is used to ensure that machine play is based on the liquor pouring hours of the municipality. It also functions so that terminals shut down if a local establishment is facing disciplinary action for misuse of the Illinois gaming revenue and slot machines.

Staff and Personnel Requirements for Your Illinois Slot Machines Area or Room

Video Gaming Manager

  • When filling out your video gaming application, you’ll find there is a requirement to name a Video Gaming Manager. This individual will be responsible for communicating with your Illinois slot machine operator (like J&J Gaming), as well as managing the marketing promotions for your Illinois gaming machines alongside the terminal operator. Whether the owner takes on this role, a current employee is trained, or a new person is hired to fulfill these duties, it is important that they fully understand the policies and rules involved to conduct business properly on your behalf.
  • If you were asked which members of your team are responsible for running the Illinois gaming machine area, what would you say? Hopefully, your instant answer was “EVERYONE!” While you should have a specific dedicated Video Gaming Manager, each person on your staff, including bartenders and servers, should be trained accordingly.

Support Staff

  • The entire staff should know who to call in the case of an issue with the Illinois gaming system. If a gaming machine goes down, a cashout voucher doesn’t print, or another problem arises, they should have basic training on how to handle it.
  • Staff members must always card individuals who could be under the age of 21 as a means to prevent them from entering the Illinois gaming machine area. Illinois laws strictly prohibit anyone under 21 from accessing these gaming machines. Failure to do so can result in serious disciplinary action against the licensed bar, restaurant, truck stop, or fraternal organization. Establishments that do not follow the rules are at risk of having their Illinois gaming machines removed altogether.
  • An understanding of keeping confidential information such as financial details within the confines of your Illinois slot machines business and its employees.

J&J Gaming Services

  • J&J Gaming is an Illinois Video Gaming Terminal Operator that offers support throughout the entire video gaming experience and provides vital information on Illinois gaming systems and the Illinois Video Gaming Act. We walk our partners through each step of the license application process, proper gaming machine maintenance practices, and slot machine security and support. We attend to details such as application updates, filing your DOJ registration, providing license renewal reminders, and so much more.

How long does it take to obtain Illinois slot machines?

Before you begin the process of obtaining Illinois gaming machines, you’ll want to ensure you have a FEIN (federal employer tax identification number) and an Illinois business tax number (IBT). Along with these, you’ll need to have both state and local liquor licenses clearly displayed and available.

If you are building a new establishment, it will need to be close to open-ready prior to submitting your gaming application. From there, J&J will walk you through the application for Illinois slot machines as well as the necessary fingerprinting and background checks, followed by a formal site inspection by the IGB with the location open and gaming area completed. The IGB will review the potential Illinois gaming machines area and meet with both the establishment owners and the Video Gaming Manager. Photos will be taken of each individual along with the location to be sent in with the completed application for final approval.

The Illinois Gaming Board generally meets on a monthly basis to review all current applications and vote on whether all requirements have been met. All in all, the entire application process for Illinois gaming machines usually takes anywhere from 2-3 months, depending on when this meeting takes place.

When you partner with the right Illinois Video Gaming Terminal Operator such as J&J Gaming, you will receive guidance and support throughout the process, we can guarantee the effort invested into obtaining slot machines for your establishment is well worth it!

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