Illinois Gaming Expands

In 2019, the Illinois House and Senate passed SB690. This law implemented gaming expansion throughout the state. In response, the Illinois Gaming Board is actively putting procedures in place to implement these new Illinois gaming rules. Happily, most of the changes to Illinois gambling laws are beneficial. They represent expanded opportunities for profit. In this article, we here at Universal Gaming Group examine these changes. First, we look at those that impact Illinois video gaming. Afterward, we take a glance at those relevant to casinos in Illinois and Illinois sports betting.

Illinois Gaming: Changes to Illinois Video Gaming

2020 Changes to Illinois Gaming Laws

The Positive

Increased maximum bet. The maximum wager on video gambling terminals (VGTs) is increasing from $2 to $4.

Increased maximum win. The maximum cash award for the maximum wager is increasing from $500 to $1195.

In-location bonus jackpots. Once the IGB determines the procedures for implementing them, Illinois video gaming sites will be able to implement “In-location Bonus Jackpots.” These will be cumulative jackpots that can build as high as $10,000.

More VGTs per location. Illinois video gaming establishments could formerly have five VGTs per location. That number now increases to six.

Large truck stops. The changes to Illinois gambling laws create a new category of establishment allowed to operate VGTs. This is the “large truck stop.” To qualify as a large truck stop, the business must meet all the requirements for a regular truck stop. Additionally, it must be within three road miles of a freeway interchange and sell an average of 50,000 gallons or more of diesel or biodiesel fuel a month. Large truck stops can have up to ten VGTs.

Illinois Video Gaming at Illinois State Fairs. Thanks to changes in the Illinois gambling laws, the Illinois State Fair can now have 50 VGTs. The DuQuoin State Fair can now have 30.

Easier, faster VGT servicing. There’s no longer a requirement for IGB agents to be physically present when VGTs are serviced. Once the details are worked out, Licensed Terminal Handlers will be able to handle RAM clears and VGT and software installs. Additionally, they can remove machines for repair more expeditiously.

The Negative

Tax increase. These revisions also come with a tax increase. Prior to July 1, 2019, the tax imposed on licensees was 30%. The rate increased to 33% of a VGT’s net income and will go to 34% on July 1, 2020. The revenue split between Location and Terminal Operator and Location will remain the same, however. It will still be a  50/50 split of the balance. The tax revenue will continue to contribute to the State’s Capital Projects Fund.

2020 Changes to Illinois Gaming Laws

Illinois Gaming: Changes to Illinois Casinos

More casinos. The changes to Illinois gambling laws will allow for six additional casinos. This includes one mega-casino in Chicago. The old maximum number was ten. Henceforth, however, there can be as many as 16. The casino in Chicago will likely go in an area deemed in need of economic development. The other new casinos will go in Rockford, Waukegan, Danville, Williamson County, one of the six south suburban Cook County townships to be determined. The township will be either Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton, or Worth.

Bigger casinos. Previous legislation limited Illinois casinos to 1,200 gambling positions. The Williamson County casino will still have a maximum of 1,200. So will horse racing tracks. The Rockford, Danville, Waukegan, and Cook County townships casinos can all have 2,000 gambling seats, however. The Chicago mega-casino can have 4,000.

Illinois Gaming: Sports betting.

Legal Illinois sports betting. Sports gambling will now be legal in casinos and many sports venues. Locations like Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, Guaranteed Rate Field, and the United Center can all apply for licenses. So can the Chicagoland Speedway, the Worldwide Technology Raceway, the Allstate Arena and SeatGeek Stadium. Players will also be able to place sports bets at horse race tracks.

Eventually, there will also be sports betting kiosks similar to lottery kiosks. A yet-to-be-released pilot program will allow sports lottery terminals in up to 2,500 locations for the first year. There can be another 2,500 the following year. These sports lottery terminals will only accept parlay and fixed odds parlay bets.

Legal online sports betting. Additionally, the changes to Illinois gambling laws will allow online sports betting. This could prove beneficial to Illinois video gaming locations if it brings in additional customers to watch the games and place bets from their devices.

Illinois Gaming: A Final Word

As you can see from this discussion, the future of the Illinois gambling industry including Illinois video gaming is bright. If you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity, we invite you to contact Universal Gaming Group. Our experts will get you up and running.