Illinois Gaming License Requirements

The process of meeting each of the Illinois gaming license requirements from the Illinois Gaming Board can be an intimidating venture. So, how do you obtain a gaming license for your truck stop, restaurant, bar, fraternal or veterans organization, or another establishment? To make things easy on you, we’ve put together this all-inclusive list to get you started.

Gaming License Background Check

One of the key requirements from the Illinois Gaming Board is the gaming license background check. Per the Illinois Video Gaming Act, anyone requesting an Illinois Gaming License from the Illinois Gaming Board will be required to complete this background check. The gaming license background check will investigate key details including:

  • Complete audits of both business owners and the video gaming manager at the Illinois video gaming establishment.
  • Public records of any felonies or crimes including misdemeanors, unsettled debts, and domestic issues.
  • Failed drug tests.
  • Failure to follow Video Gaming Act rules and regulations.

A set of fingerprints will also be required for each owner of the establishment by the Illinois Gaming Board during the initial sign-up, and gaming license background checks will be reviewed every year.

License Requirements from the IGB

As the Illinois Gaming Board reviews the information on the application forms, they’ll be taking a close look at the business owners’ character and ability to run a business. A few of the top qualifications and Illinois gaming license requirements include:

  1. Clear history of honesty and integrity.
  2. A clean background check void of a criminal record and any other instances that have threatened the people of the state of Illinois.
  3. No previous issues with the Illinois video gaming industry.
  4. No history of questionable business practices or unethical financial arrangements, whether associated with Illinois video gaming activities or otherwise.

View a full list of Illinois Gaming License requirements.

What can disqualify you?

Any restaurant, bar or other business owner seeking to install video gaming machines and an Illinois gaming license should review and understand the gaming license requirements, as well as the full list of actions that can disqualify you from getting a gaming license.

While many of these actions may disqualify you from getting a gaming license from the Illinois Gaming Board. It is imperative that applicants are honest and avoid withholding any relevant information throughout the application process. 

The detailed ten-part online application will give the Illinois Gaming Board insight into whether or not a given person qualifies for their gaming license. The application is kept on file by the Illinois Gaming Board and the establishment is expected to update as items change.

Illinois Gaming License Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will the staff members at my business be investigated by the Illinois Gaming Board?

In short, some of the staff members of a business applying for their Illinois Gaming License will be investigated by the Illinois Gaming Board. Specifically, those that are considered Persons with Significant Influence or Control or the video gaming manager. From individual owners and partial owners to board members and management, anyone whose position allows them to either influence or control decisions or activities of the applicant or licensee is considered a PSIC.

In addition to complying with the Illinois Gaming Board’s individual investigation, PSIC’s are forbidden from playing the Illinois Video Gaming machines at their establishment. However, this rule by the Illinois Gaming Board and General Assembly does not apply to PSICs of a licensed non-profit organization, licensed fraternal establishment, or licensed veterans establishment unless that person directly manages that Licensed Establishment’s Illinois Gaming operations. Additional information on staff members at Illinois gaming businesses that qualify as Persons with Significant Influence or Control can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website.

How do I avoid a suspension of my Illinois Gaming License?

To put it simply, if you follow the rules, you’ll successfully avoid having your Illinois Gaming License revoked or suspended by the Illinois Gaming Board. While the rules are fairly simple, to undoubtedly abide by them, it’s imperative that licensees know and understand those rules. Prior to obtaining your license and Illinois gaming slot machines, the gaming area must be approved by the Illinois Gaming Board, which will be investigated at your site inspection.

Once that area has been approved and Video Gaming Terminals have been installed, that area must remain a secure premise, free from interference, for the operation and play of Video Gaming Terminals. Similarly, the central communications system and other Illinois gaming equipment must be maintained and protected from any tampering or interference to ensure it operates properly. Prior to moving video slot machines, the manager of a bar or restaurant is required to notify their Illinois Video Gaming Terminal Operator and receive approval from the Illinois Gaming Board. Under no circumstance should anyone other than licensed Illinois gaming technicians and/or licensed terminal handlers, including the staff at the licensed business, maintain or repair a location’s video slot machines or hardware.

Marketing your Illinois video slot machines is a great way to increase your Illinois gaming revenue, but it’s critical that you conduct your advertising and promotional efforts in accordance with the rules and regulations of both the Illinois Gaming Board and the municipality in which your bar, restaurant, or truck stop operates. To avoid discrediting the authority of the Illinois Gaming industry, J&J Gaming provides guidance on these regulations to make sure our partnered establishments abide by the most recent Inducement Policy.

Finally, you can avoid losing your Illinois Gaming License by maintaining your other required licenses, including your state and local liquor licenses. Check out the Illinois General Assembly’s Administrative Code for an elaboration on maintaining your Illinois Gaming License.

Under what circumstances will the Illinois Gaming Board issue fines & suspensions?

Again, the best way to avoid fines and gaming license suspensions from the Illinois Gaming Board is by simply following the rules. It’s imperative that you follow the current and new regulations from the Illinois Gaming Board. Whether it be your personal or professional life, steer clear of folks who you know to have an extensive criminal history, particularly those who have failed to cooperate with the government, or who have had any involvement in local or federal crime. Illinois Gaming License applicants that are partnered with corrupt individuals may give the Illinois Gaming Board reason to question the character of that licensee.

Character may also be measured through punctuality and accuracy as it relates to the Illinois Video Gaming Act. It’s important to show your credibility by submitting accurate paperwork in a timely manner. Furthermore, failing to promptly respond to messages or phone calls from the Illinois Gaming Board could also result in fines or gaming license suspensions. Avoid giving the board motivation to investigate you or your Illinois gaming business by maintaining integrity and engaging in honest business practices. View a full list of Disciplinary Protocols from the Illinois General Assembly & Gaming Board.

Are video slot machines allowed to be installed at restaurants or bars within malls?

Yes. And no. Real answer—it depends. When referring to a “mall,” the Illinois Gaming Board is referring to a structure with four or more units. The structure could be a building, adjoining or connected buildings, buildings with a single postal address, or buildings with a single parcel or property index number. If the Illinois Gaming Board determines that the potential Video Gaming Location can operate completely separately from any other licensed gaming business within the mall, they are more likely to grant that application. If the staff at the Illinois Gaming Board believes your individual establishment will operate with another business as a single entity, you will not meet the Illinois Gaming License requirements.

Furthermore, the Illinois Gaming Board will deny an Illinois Gaming License to a bar or restaurant if it creates a concentration of certified video gambling locations. To elaborate, if the number of Illinois Gaming Locations is more than double the number of non-Video Gaming Locations, a “local concentration of licensed Video Gaming Locations” exists. Factors of the Illinois Video Gaming Act that the Illinois Gaming Board reviews prior to determining whether or not they’ll license a business within a mall can be found on the General Assembly website.

What type of payout device do restaurants & bars use to conduct transactions?

The Illinois Gaming Board defines a Payout Device as “a device, approved by the Board and provided by a supplier or distributor, that redeems for cash tickets dispensed by a Video Gaming Terminal in exchange for credits accumulated on a Video Gaming Terminal.” Naturally, every licensed truck stop, bar, fraternal organization, or restaurant must have a payout device; one that has been approved by the Administrator, and that conforms to the Illinois Gaming License requirements. Any changes or upgrades to a payout device must also be approved by the Administrator at the Illinois Gaming Board.

While most players submit their video gaming vouchers to the payout device themselves to receive their money. Payout devices may also function as an ATM, so long as it functions separately from the video gaming ticket payment algorithm and system. The device itself, however, may share a single currency dispenser. Other standards and requirements relating to payout devices can be found in the Illinois Gaming Board’s Administrative Code.

Partner through the licensing process and beyond.

As an Illinois Video Gaming Terminal Operator, J&J Gaming offers assistance to restaurants, bars, fraternal and veteran organizations, and truck stops that are interested in getting their gambling license from the Illinois Gaming Board and installing video gaming machines in their business. We offer a large selection of video gaming machines from manufacturers such as IGT, WMS, Inspired Entertainment, Novomatic Group, Bally Technologies, and Aristocrat.

As a knowledgeable partner, J&J Gaming is prepared to work by your side to fulfill the extensive list of Illinois gaming license requirements. We will walk you through each step and assist you in filling out the application from the Illinois Gaming Board. Our video gaming representatives will visit your establishment before your site inspection to ensure nothing can disqualify you from getting a gaming license from the Illinois Gaming Board.

After your bar or restaurant meets the Illinois gaming license requirements, you’ve made your way through the application process, and video gaming machines are installed at your location, a J&J Account Manager will stop in regularly for a variety of additional services.

You’ll have 24/7 access to our video slot machine repair technicians, who will always ensure your machines are running properly. Your Account Manager will make sure that your licenses are constantly up to date, you have the best mix of machines, and your slots are being effectively promoted. Our staff has been in the video gaming and entertainment industry since 1929 and are dedicated to offering dependable customer service and route operations; knowledge you can only get from an industry leader.

Still have questions? Get in touch.