The outbreak of COVID-19 is impacting every industry in the country. The health crisis has transformed the hospitality and video gaming industries in a variety of ways. Restaurants and bars across the state are building outdoor patios to ensure each guest is safe while eating and socializing. Additionally, the state and the Illinois Gaming Board have released a new regulation that limits video slot machines to a single person to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. They also require plexiglass dividers between machines that are not six feet away from another machine, and that gamers wear masks at all times. To help you stay updated on changes in the Illinois video gaming industry, we have summarized announcements from the Illinois Gaming Board.
Latest News: COVID-19 Video Gaming Restrictions
November 18, 2020: Each of the 11 regions in Illinois will be required to follow Tier 3 of the COVID-19 mitigations on November 20, 2020 starting at 12:01 AM. The executive order will limit capacity at nearly every type of business in the state. Indoor service at bars and restaurants will be banned, and indoor video gaming terminals will be required to suspend operations.
November 4, 2020: The latest dining and video gaming restrictions will be enforced at restaurants, bars, and truck stops in Region 2 of Illinois. The latest announcement will impact businesses in counties such as Tazwell, Henderson, Rock Island, Grundy, Stark, Woodford, Lasalle, McDonough, Bureau, Knox, Fulton, Livingston, McLean, Peoria, Putnam, Mercer, Henry, Kendall, Marshall, and Warren.
November 2, 2020: Existing COVID-19 protocols have been applied to video gaming establishments in Region 6 of Illinois. The types of establishments that are subject to these regulations include bars, restaurants, and truck stops. The latest news will impact restaurants and businesses in counties of Illinois such as Edgar, Iroquois, Vermillion, Coles, Jasper, Moultrie, Douglas, Shelby, Fayette, Crawford, Richland, Dewitt, Piatt, Cumberland, Clark, Effingham, Lawrence, and Clay counties.
November 1, 2020: Video gaming establishments including restaurants and bars in Region 3 of Illinois are required to enforce the COVID-19 regulations to protect the health and safety of customers. The impacted counties include Menard, Adams, Scott, Sangamon, Montogomery, Schuyler, Hancock, Logan, Pike, Jersey, Greene, Macoupin, Calhoun, Mason, Cass, Brown, Christian, and Morgan.
October 31, 2020: All COVID-19 restrictions apply to restaurants and bars in the McHenry and Lake counties of Region 9.
October 28, 2020: Each local state regulation applies to restaurants, bars, and businesses in Cook county of Region 10.
October 28, 2020: Each restaurant and bar in Region 4 is subject to the state video gaming and dining restrictions. The COVID-19 regulations apply to all establishments in Madison, St. Clair, Clinton, Bond, Randolph, Washington, and Monroe counties.
October 26, 2020: State officials released a statement on Monday that new restrictions will be implemented on indoor dining at restaurants in Cook County on Wednesday, October 28 due to high COVID-19 positivity rates. Indoor dining at restaurants will be banned and outdoor service will be restricted to 11 PM each day of the week. The state is advising bars to remove seats to prevent people from gathering together while they are waiting to be seated outside. In addition, reservations will be required to access restaurants in Cook County.
As of October 22, the positivity rate has increased to 7.7% from 7.2% the prior week. According to the Illinois health department, the local area only has close to 25% of hospital beds available for sick individuals. The latest announcement will impact restaurants and businesses in Oak Lawn, Schaumburg, Wheeling, Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, Elgin, and other areas. The prior week, the governor of Illinois released indoor dining restrictions in four counties such as DuPage. As of this current time, indoor dining will remain legal in Chicago at a 40% capacity.
October 23, 2020: Legal gambling at establishments in Region 8 is permitted to occur from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Establishments are not allowed to serve entrees or snacks to customers inside their restaurant or bar. To combat the increase in COVID-19 fatalities and cases, the state of Illinois is restricting food and drink services in Kane and DuPage counties to only outdoor service. Restaurants will be allowed to serve food and alcoholic beverages to tables outside. In addition, the state recommends providing carryout options to customers.
The managers and owners of an establishment are required to invoke the use of masks in the video gaming area. The Illinois Gaming Board has released rules that consist of enforcing a single person per slot machine restriction. For tips on ways to safely open your gaming machines, call a staff member at the Illinois Gaming Board by phone at (217) 524-0226 or a specialist at Awesome Hand Gaming at (855) 921-1030.
October 23, 2020: The Illinois Gaming Board has released limited video gambling hours for Region 7 of 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily. Restaurants, bars, and truck stops in Will and Kankakee counties are required to abide by the operational hours. The consumption of food, appetizers, and alcoholic beverages is prohibited in Region 7 of the state of Illinois. Should a resident choose to dine at an establishment, they will be required to eat and drink outside. If the customer does not want to participate in outdoor dining, an establishment is permitted to provide carryout services.
Establishments are strongly encouraged to sanitize a video slot machine when a customer is finished with his or her gambling activities. In addition, the Illinois Gaming Board has limited a single person at each slot machine in an establishment. If you notice a group of people near a gaming machine, ask the individuals to stay at their designated slot machines.
October 22, 2020: To decrease the total amount of new COVID-19 cases, the state of Illinois has banned indoor food and drink services to various counties in Region 5. The new rules cover Saline, Johnson, Franklin, Perry, Jefferson, Wabash, Williamson, Massac, Alexander, Gallatin, Marion, Hardin, Edwards, Wayne, Edwards, Hamilton, Jackson, Pope, Pulaski, Union, and White Counties.
On the other hand, the regulations allow restaurants and bars to offer curbside services and carryout options to customers in Region 5. At the current time, Illinois video gaming services are permitted from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM throughout the week. To keep your customers safe, please administer hand sanitizer to customers at video slot machines in your bar or restaurant.
October 3, 2020: Video gaming at restaurants and bars in Region 1 of Illinois is legal from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM each day of the week. Establishments that permit video gambling outside of the specified hours can be penalized. The limitations apply to counties including Stephenson, Carroll, Jo Daviess, Boone, Whiteside, Lee, Winnebago, and Ogle. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, indoor dining is prohibited to establishments in Region 1. Outdoor dining and carryout is permitted for bars and restaurants in the local area.
Every establishment is required to enforce the use of face masks in the dining area and video gaming room. To prevent an airborne spread of COVID-19, the Illinois Gaming Board has implemented a single person limit per video slot machine. If you have questions about the new regulations, call a representative at the Illinois Gaming Board by phone at (217) 524-0226 or a staff member at Awesome Hand Gaming at (855) 921-1030.
September 2020 Illinois Gaming Revenue Highlights
Total Amount of Video Gaming Locations & Gaming Terminals
The September report released by the Illinois Gaming Board indicates that there are currently a total of 7,272 establishments in Illinois with video slot machines. This is an increase of roughly 30 gaming establishments since the month of August. The latest data indicates that there are a total of 36,828 slot machines at bars and restaurants throughout Illinois. In the month of September alone, close to 416 additional slot machines were installed.
The Net Terminal Income earned in Illinois during September was $164,162,770.98, a decrease of close to $219,223.83 from the month prior. Illinois’ Net Terminal Income is a metric that measures the total amount of gaming revenue generated from video slot machines before it is distributed to the municipalities, state, licensed location, and terminal operator. Similarly, the total amount of money played at video slot machines fell to $1,993,679,640.73 in September, a loss of $7,912,567.16 since the month of August. The total Illinois gaming revenue distributed to the state decreased from $47,672,827.26 in August to $47,605,644.00 in September, a decline of close to $67,183.26.
Upcoming Illinois Gaming Board Meeting in October
The Illinois Gaming Board will be conducting a digital meeting on October 29th on its website to discuss new COVID-19 restrictions and advancements in the video gaming industry. The schedule of topics will be made available two days before the meeting. While we are not aware of the exact agenda, the board is expected to discuss the Rockford casino proposal.