Are you considering adding slot machine revenue to your business?
If you are considering adding slot machine revenue to your business, you will need to learn about Illinois Video Gaming and how to obtain a legal license to run your business. The Illinois Video Gaming Act was established on 7/13/2009 and allows licensed establishments to legally use up to 5 slot machines or video gaming machines within their establishment. These are also known as VGT’s or simply slot machines.
Any eligible Illinois Video Gaming locations must be located in a municipality that has already opted in to allow video gaming.
Starting Your Illinois Slot Machine Business from the Ground Up
Getting Into the Illinois Slot Machine Business
You may want to get into the Illinois video gaming industry, and small wonder if you do. There’s plenty of money to be made. But you may be perplexed as to exactly how to open a slot machine business, and if so, again, it’s no surprise. The industry hasn’t been around all that long.
Naturally, it takes some money to get into the slot machine business, but you’ll have to put some time, thought, and research into it as well if you want your slot games to be a success. You will, for example, have to apply for your Illinois gaming license, satisfy the stipulations of the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) as well as local ordinances, find a suitable location, hire personnel, and train them.
Here’s a guide to some of what you can expect. The discussion is by no means all inclusive, but it does address some of the major hurdles.
FINDING A LOCATION FOR YOUR SLOT MACHINE BUSINESS
Start by determining whether a particular town allows video gaming. Some do, others don’t. A location in a town that doesn’t is automatically a non-starter, so you don’t want to waste a minute of your time on it. Beyond that, unless the location is a “truck stop” as defined by Illinois law, it will need an on-premises liquor license from the State.
If it doesn’t currently have one, it may be possible to apply for one. First, though, you’ll need to apply for a local liquor license, and this can occasionally be a stumbling block. Some municipalities limit the number of liquor permits they hand out and have already reached their quota. It’s one more thing you may need to investigate.
Selecting a Terminal Operator for Your Slot Machine Business
The Terminal Operator (TO) is the company that provides your video gaming terminals (VGTs) and other necessary equipment. Universal Gaming Group is your go to partner here in Illinois as our service and expertise are unparalleled. Universal Gaming Group can help you establish your location, obtain your video gaming and liquor licensing, as well as set up the preventative maintenance schedules.
Obtaining Your Local and State Liquor Licenses
If you don’t already have them, you need them
As noted above, obtaining the local one comes first and generally costs from $100 to $300. The standard Illinois Retailer’s License costs $750 and must be renewed annually. You’ll also want liquor liability insurance (AKA dram shop insurance) and US Dept. of Justice registration for your VGTs. This is another area where your TO may be able to assist you.
Deal With the Layout and Décor of Your Gaming Location in IL
Contractors will attend to the electricals and perform the other chores necessary to turn your location in a space capable of operating a slot games business. Beyond that, though, you’ll have to figure out where you’re going to position the VGTs and all the other furnishings. What colors are you using, and what will the logos and signs look like? (Note that there are legal requirements regarding signage.) If you’re dedicating a space for slot games with a larger existing business, how will you set it off from the rest of the establishment?
Make these decisions in consultation with your TO. Terminal Operators have the know-how to advise you on how best to attract patrons and get them to play the slot games.
When Everything’s Ready, Open Your Illinois Slot Machine Business
When there are no hitches, it generally takes around six months
It’s perhaps more realistic to expect the process of launching an Illinois slot machine business to take about a year. However long it takes and no matter how tired you feel, don’t just declare the place open and let it go at that. Open in conjunction with a marketing push and promotions. Word of mouth, social media, and perhaps even paid advertising can make the difference between success and failure.