How to Promote Illinois Video Gaming at Your Location with Cashout Vouchers

To the savvy Illinois video gaming business owner, cashout vouchers are more than just slips of paper that winners use to redeem their winnings – they’re also excellent promotional tools!

Breathe new life into those cashout vouchers that would have otherwise been left behind, thrown away, or ignored by using them to promote the slot machines and video games at your location and attract more guests to take a spin. Here’s how you can revamp your cashout vouchers into marketing tools and promote Illinois video gaming at your restaurant, bar, or establishment:

How to Promote Illinois Video Gaming at Your Location with Cashout VouchersPost Photos & Videos on Social Media of Slot Machine Cashout Vouchers

Posting images on social media of big winners proudly showing off their cashout vouchers is an excellent way to bring attention to your slot machines and Illinois gambling machines. These posts on social media will help display the benefits of playing video slot machines at your bar or restaurant. Posting an image a day may encourage guests to come on over and try their luck! While posting images of big winner tickets alone is effective, posting a picture or better yet, a video, of a big winner with their casino cashout voucher is even more authentic, believable, and impactful.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a triple-threat picture of the machine win, winning cashout voucher, and the big winner with their earnings? And if you’re not lucky enough to get that shot, simply having the hot ticket is enough to let your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter followers know your video slot machines are on fire.

However, before you begin to post and tweet about winning cashout vouchers, remember that not all folks are keen on ending up on social media. Some people are uncomfortable enough about getting their photos taken by strangers; they’re even less interested in their images or videos being posted on the Internet for the whole world to access. So before you post photos of people on social media, be sure to ask their permission first and respect their privacy if they decline.

The good news is that while there are folks who choose to remain quiet about their big wins at the slot machines, there are those who are more than willing to share the exciting news with everyone! Be camera-ready to capture these big moments!

The fun doesn’t stop there! Is it a holiday? Don’t forget to incorporate that! Or ask the big winner to give your establishment a shout-out while holding your menu or wearing a baseball cap with your company logo. Promote it all! Before you post, add an inviting, witty caption that lets people know they could be the next big winner.

Provide a “Ticket TIPS” Bucket For Gamers That Do Not Use Their Cashout Vouchers

A “Ticket Tips” Bucket is an excellent way for your staff to make a little extra cash and keep guests engaged with your video slot machines and Illinois video gaming servicesOften, casino cashout vouchers are mere cents, and you’d be surprised by how many guests/gamers don’t bother cashing them out. Instead of letting them go to waste, why not give them to the folks that help keep the business running day in and day out? At the end of the shift, have the employees split the cashout vouchers bucket by their hours worked.

Don’t forget to let guests know that the cashout vouchers they don’t cash out go to sweetening the lives of the people who love to serve them whenever they visit. It’ll make them feel good knowing they’re showing their gratitude and appreciation to the staff at your Illinois video gaming and gambling establishment. You might even want to mention how supporting the “Ticket TIPS” Bucket may turn their luck around.

How to Promote Illinois Video Gaming at Your Location with Cashout VouchersPromote a Ticket Donation Bucket at Your Illinois Video Gaming Location

Many Illinois video gaming establishments already make this happen around the Holiday Season with things like “Toys for Tots.” So what’s stopping you from doing it all year round? Nothing. In fact, a permanent Cashout Voucher Donation Bucket is a fantastic way to promote generosity all the months of the year! After all, there’s always someone celebrating a birthday, a promotion, an engagement, or a significant event in their lives that makes them feel grateful enough to pay it forward.

Again, small tickets are usually what makes it into the bucket as people don’t bother cashing out small wins from video slot and gambling machines. However, every once in a while, you’re bound to have a generous do-gooder that’s willing to hand out their big win for a good cause. This gives gamers another great reason to game at your Illinois video gaming establishment – they’re gaming for the greater good! Be sure to market it this way and encourage people play your video slot machines and give back.

Create a ‘Wall of BIG WINNINGS!’ at Your Slot Machine & Gaming Establishment

A ‘Wall of Big WINNINGS’ is an excellent idea for video gaming locations where redemption machines don’t eat the cashout vouchers. For those locations with redemption machines that DO eat the cashout vouchers, simply ask your technicians to give you a minute to pull out those big wins when they come to collect!

Your ‘Wall of Big WINNINGS’ is an excellent way to utilize cashout vouchers that would have typically gone in the garbage! It doesn’t cost a whole lot to display your players’ casino cashout vouchers and wins either. All you really need is a corkboard and some push pins. Proudly display those big wins, sit back, and watch as curiosity draws potential new players in to check out the dollar amounts others have claimed while playing at your Illinois video gaming location. Your ‘Wall of Big WINNINGS’ will surely catch the eyes of guests and gamers alike, encouraging them to take a spin too!

How to Promote Illinois Video Gaming at Your Location with Cashout VouchersHost a Sweepstakes at Your Gaming Location

Want to say thank you to your regulars? Hosting a sweepstakes around your Illinois gambling machines is a great way to reward your loyal gamers. Come up with a grand prize giveaway and use cashout vouchers as entry forms during a specified entry period. But keep in mind, a free method of entry must also exist to qualify as a legal sweepstakes. Check out our sweepstakes blog here HERE more details on how to run things legally.

And the verdict is…

Being proactive and using the casino cashout vouchers at your Illinois video gaming location is a simple but effective way to send a positive message to the right people. Winning tickets show that your video slot machines are hot and let potential gamers know that your Illinois gambling location had some big winners. It’s time to let them know they could be next!


2018 in Review: Memorable Events at Our Illinois Video Gaming Locations

If there’s one thing Awesome Hand Gaming promises beyond exceptional Illinois video gaming services and commitment to our gamers, it’s to NEVER forget 2018. From new events to new slot machine and gaming locations, 2018 was jam-packed with amazing experiences that kept everyone on their toes!

Join us on a quick walk down memory lane to commemorate just how #AWESOME this year was for Awesome Hand Gaming.

New Illinois Slot Machine & Gaming Events & Locations

AHG Events: 55 & Counting!
New Locations: 15 & Counting!
AHG Promotional Events: 74 & Counting!
New Employees: 5 & Counting!

Never-been-done AHG Events: 20+
(Giant KerPlunk, Life-Size Battleships, Zorb Racing, N64 Tournaments, Decade Themed Nights, Trivia, Glow in the Dark Battle Pong, Pong Towers, Car Shows, Pig Roasts, Amature Arm Wrestling Tournament,  Taco Battle Tournament, Flip Cup Tournament, Speed Pool Tournament, Silver Strike Bowling Tournament, Putter Cups, Singles Mixers, just to name a few!)

AHG Partnerships: 20+
(Crystal Lake Brewery, Lagunitas Brewery, Star 105.5, Kiss My Coolie Cancer Foundation, BeCureful, Toys For Tots, Playboy, Chicago Country LakeShake, Lanzol Tequila, Pistakee Bay Fireworks, Lung Force, Odd Fellows Elgin Lode #12, just to name a few)


Spotlights: Events of 2018 at Our Illinois Video Gaming Locations

January: Silver Strike Bowling Tournament at Hilltop Lounge in Ingleside

As they say, “Bowling is a sport for people with talent to spare” (wink, wink). Even though bowling puns are right up our alley (get it?), we certainly took our first-ever Silver Strike Bowling Tournament seriously! We kicked off 2018 with what turned out to be one of our new favorite events!

February: Glow-in-the-Dark Battle Pong Tournament at At Work in Elk Grove

Hello darkness, our old friend: You’re much more fun with glow-in-the-dark games. We hosted our first ever Glow-in-the-Dark Battle Pong Tournament – and you guessed it, it was an #AWESOME time.

March: Fourth Annual Pop-A-Shot Tournament at Halftime Sports Bar & Grill in Johnsburg

We popped, locked, and dropped it all over Halftime Bar & Grill on March 15th for a night that went down as one of the best plays we’ve ever made. This crowd favorite remains our favorite way to kick off March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!

April: Trivia Night at VFW Post 2149 in Wood Dale

Whether gamers brought a team or joined a table, they all put on their thinking caps! VFW Post 2149 in Wood Dale partnered with us to host their first ever Trivia Night on April 20th! From unique questions to innovative halftime and Jeopardy rounds, it’s safe to say we could see the wheels turning and the tension building all evening long at this Illinois video gaming location!

May: Cinco De Mayo Bar Olympics at Hickory Lodge in McCullom Lake

Cinco De Mayo – more like Cinco De Fuego! This Bar Olympics was LIT. From the drinks specials to the themed prizes and giveaways, Awesome Hand Gaming worked with the staff at this Illinois video gaming location to ensure this event was one for the books! Our Taco Battle Tournament, Mexican Jumping Bean Challenge, and other innovative games offered something loco for everyone!

June: Traditional Battle Pong Tournament at Fire & Ice Smokehouse & Creamery in Marengo

BBQ and ice cream: Could there BE better Friday night treats?! When paired with a FREE Battle Pong Tournament, who could say no? (Anyone…? That’s what we thought.) The Awesome Hand Gaming team kept the momentum going this summer at Fire & Ice Smokehouse and Creamery in Marengo, by taking this old-school college hit game to a whole new level, tournament style!

July: Zorb Racing Tournament at Looney’s Pub in Antioch

Bubble Ball Racing, Human Hamster Ball, Zorb Racing; whatever you want to call it, we don’t mind – we just call it an AWESOME time. This July, Awesome Hand Gaming partnered up with some BIG LEAGUE names – Crystal Lake Brewery, Looney’s Pub, and Bella’s Bouncies to name a few – for our very first Zorb Racing Tournament! This was truly is a ONCE in a lifetime opportunity.

August: Life-Size Battleships Tournament at Sunnyside Tavern in Johnsburg

HOLY SHIP. AHG brought down clouds of thunder, sunk ships, and took prisoners in our crafty brand new summer game! We combined one of the most memorable games from your childhood with another from your college years to create a spin-off all our own. That’s right! We successfully merged Battleships with Battle Pong, making this event a BATTLE to remember.

September: 2018 Playboy Meet & Greet | Double Trouble in Hoffman Estates

Oops, we did it again. Awesome Hand Gaming hosted our 3rd Annual Playboy Meet & Greet that was double the trouble and double the fun. How? This year, there were not one, but TWO Playboy Playmates: Crystal McCahill and Raquel Pomplun! The evening was smokin’ hot – dare we say, even hotter than the slots? Well, probably not, but pretty darn close!

October: Life-Size Battle Pong at Leona’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in Elk Grove

Pizza, beer, and Life-Size Battle Pong?! We know what you’re thinking…”Sign me up!” On Saturday, October 13th, AHG and our loyal gamers took ping pong to new heights with our Life-Size Battle Pong! From the super smells of freshly cooked pizza to the super space for some supersized pong, everything came together in an #AWESOME fashion.

November: Singles Mixer at Bar Down Sports Grill

On Saturday, November 17th AHG teamed up with Bar Down Sports Grill in Hoffman Estates, for our second Singles Party! This might have sounded too good to be true for some – but, unlike a bad boy/girlfriend, we wouldn’t lead gamers on like that! This Bar Olympic-style event wasn’t the only thing that was heating up! Some loyal gamers might have even found Mr. or Mrs. Right, thanks to the AHG promo team!

December: 80’s Night & Bar Olympics at C’Mon Inn in Grayslake

Ahh, the 80’s – just thinking about it gives us all the feels. From Walkmans to the biggest hair, we just wish we could go back from the future. Lucky for you, you don’t need a DeLorean to go back in time. We at Awesome Hand Gaming hosted our FIRST EVER 80’s-themed Bar Olympics on Saturday, December 29th! Bust out your leg warmers, parachute pants, and shoulder pads, because we just wanna have fun and dance with somebody.




Legal, Marketing, and Hospitality Mistakes at Video Gaming Locations

When your establishment has video gaming terminals, you may occasionally feel like you’re walking on eggshells to follow all the rules and regulations that come along with the responsibility. While there are plenty of laws and statutes you are required to obey, there are also many marketing and hospitality errors that plague the video slot machine industry. Luckily, most of these oversights are easy to fix.

To help give you some peace of mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most common video gaming legal, marketing, and hospitality mistakes that happen at gaming locations.

Legal Mistakes

Accepting Inducements

According to the Video Gaming Act Rule 1800, licensed video gaming locations cannot accept incentives from video terminal operators to convince them to use or maintain video gaming terminals at their establishment. By accepting any inducements, both sides may be subject to legal action.

Not Keeping Your Terminal Operator and IGB Informed

You are required by law to notify your video gaming terminal operator of any major changes at your establishment. This includes changes in ownership, board members, or gaming managers, whether it be by death, marriage, or other causes. You must notify them of any criminal charges against anyone on your IGB application, as well as legal charges or fines against the corporation itself.

Poor Training

If employees aren’t trained properly, there are a range of potential legal concerns waiting to happen. As an example, all employees should card anyone who appears to be under 30 years of age. Failure to do so could lead to underage gaming at your establishment, leading to heavy fees or even having your gaming license revoked.

Illegal Raffles or Sweepstakes

It is vital that you understand the proper way to conduct a sweepstakes at your video gaming location. Do the necessary research to discern the difference between a raffle and a sweepstakes and what is allowed. You should also avoid other illegal forms of gaming such as competition brackets, strip cards, playing cards, wagers, dice, and any additional games played for money or prizes.

Remodeling Without Notifying Terminal Operator

While we don’t want to micromanage, video gaming establishments are required to notify their terminal operator of any structural changes they are planning to make at their location. This is especially true if the video gaming terminals need to be moved during the remodel. Any changes to the electrical system should also to be shared as the video slots must remain on their own system at all times.


Marketing Mistakes

Inaccurate Hours of Operations

Following your advertised hours of operation is vital to your success and reputation. Ensure your hours are presented correctly on your door, website, social media profiles, and other local search pages.

Avoiding Social Media

You’re missing a huge opportunity to reach a large audience if you’re not using social media to promote your video slot machines. Use sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to post about special events, share pictures of winning tickets, advertise your gaming rewards program, etc.

No Exterior Signage

Though online marketing efforts are a great tactic to get people through your doors, ensure you also have signs outside to catch the attention of passing traffic. Some areas won’t allow exterior signage, but if you’re able, then make sure you have it out there for the world to see. Here at AHG, we offer each of our locations access to complementary banners, flags, neon signs, and more to promote their slots.

No Interior Signage

This may seem obvious, but if your video gaming area is hidden or not right next to the entrance, make sure you have signs and arrows to direct guests to terminals. Keep posters up to advertise current promotions and even post photos of some people who have won big at your location (with their permission). Don’t forget to post all the legal signage required by your state, such as your gaming license, contact information signs, your DOJ letter, and the standard 21 and over signs.


Hospitality Mistakes

Treating Gamers Differently Than Other Guests

Whether a customer comes in for a drink or heads straight to the slots, every person who walks in should be treated equally. For those who do come in to play in the gaming area, visit them on occasion to offer drinks or appetizers. If they refuse, simply offer your assistance if they need anything during their visit.

Dirty Gaming Area

Visit the video gaming area at least a few times a day to clean up any leftover food or drinks. Ideally, you should check the area each time you see a gamer leave to pick up and wipe down the machine they used. Grab a clean cloth and some water to keep the equipment in pristine condition for each new guest.

No Complimentary Snacks or Non-Alcoholic Beverages

While alcohol is often included in the same thought as video slot machines, many gamers are not there to drink. Rather, they are there to strictly play your games, so encourage them to stay a bit longer by offering complimentary snacks or drinks during their stay. Invest in a Keurig to offer some free coffee to each guest who plays the slots or put up signs to mention complimentary snacks available from the kitchen.

Gaming and Dining in Same Area

It is required by the IGB that video slot machines be separate from a dining area to prevent underage individuals from gaming or entering the area by mistake. Keep your video gaming terminals as secluded from the dining section as possible by placing a small wall or simply putting it in another room. If these options aren’t available, ensure there is clear signage to keep the two areas segregated.


Avoid These Video Gaming Marketing & Legal Mistakes

If you see any items on this list you may be doing, we recommend making the necessary changes to prevent issues coming up in the future. These video gaming legal, marketing, and hospitality mistakes can have serious consequences from heavy fines to losing your gaming license and more.

To learn more about how to improve the setting at your establishment, feel free to contact us. We are fully prepared to answer any questions or concerns you may have.


How to Conduct a Sweepstakes at Your Illinois Video Gaming Location

So, you want to host a big giveaway event at your location? That sounds like a great idea! It’s an interactive way to promote your establishment and its video slot machines. Hosting a giveaway at your Illinois video gaming location is also an excellent way to increase traffic and gather guests’ information, all while giving back to your loyal customers and gamers! But before you take any steps to start the process, we need to go over some vital information to ensure everything involved remains valid and legal.

There are a handful of considerations when planning and conducting your giveaway at your bar, restaurant, establishment, and Illinois video gaming location. Let’s take a look at what you need to know and the actions you need to take before you get the ball rolling.

A Raffle is Not the Same As a Sweepstakes

Raffles raise money through the selling of tickets, which are drawn at random to determine a winner. Whoever has the winning ticket receives a specified prize.

Companies generally host raffles for fundraisers and other similar events, but Illinois law has numerous restrictions on these drawings. The Raffles and Poker Runs Act states an organization must secure a government issued license prior to holding any type of event with a raffle.

These licenses are only available to non-profit organizations (charities, veteran programs, schools, religious institutions, etc.). Even when a non-profit is able to obtain the necessary paperwork, there are still restrictions on the cost per raffle ticket and how much the prizes can be worth.

Whatever proceeds are made from these raffles is required to go directly to the organization holding the event and not to any personal parties. It is highly unlikely that a non-charity, such as a bar or a restaurant with video slot machines, would be able to obtain a raffle permit. Therefore, it would be illegal for most Illinois video gaming locations to conduct a raffle.

Conduct a Sweepstakes Instead

Alternatively, Illinois video gaming locations with video slot machines may host a sweepstakes. This is a legal and viable option for any bar, restaurant, arcade, or establishment so long as the primary sweepstakes rules and regulations are properly created and adhered to. An illegal lottery (or raffle) becomes a sweepstakes when one of the following elements are eliminated:

  • Prize – Anything of value to be awarded to the winner(s).
  • Chance – A process of randomly selecting a victor.
  • Consideration – The form of entry to the contest, either by monetary or non-monetary means.

“Consideration” will usually be eliminated to increase participation in a drawing for a prize rather than a game of skill. This can be done by allowing anyone that’s eligible to enter for free, or by adding a free method of entry into the sweepstakes.

Set the Sweepstakes Rules

To continue down the legal pathway toward your sweepstakes with Awesome Hand Gaming, it’s important to distribute the rules to those who wish to participate at your Illinois video gaming location. Let’s take a look at a few of the key things to point out when establishing the sweepstakes rules.

1. Procedures

This should include eligible entry dates and times, as well as the entry methods people can use to join the sweepstakes at your Illinois video gaming location.

2. Sponsorship

Whether this is you or a third-party, the name and address of the event sponsor must be clearly listed on the rules.

3. No Purchase Necessary

This is legal jargon that must be included somewhere within the rules for participation.

4. Drawing Details

Along with the entry dates, you must note who will conduct the drawing(s), where the drawing(s) will occur, and when the drawing(s) will take place. Share key details such as whether participants must be present to win the prize.

5. Eligibility

You must include any restrictions for age, employee eligibility, and whether or not family members are able to participate.

6. Prizes

Here you will list the odds of winning, any and all available prizes, estimated prize values, and how the winner(s) collect the prize(s). You should also mention if participants are responsible for shipping/handling fees involved in delivering the prize.

7. Use of Disclosed Information

This section essentially discloses to the participants that their disclosed information will be treated as non-confidential, alongside the reasons the event sponsors will use that disclosed information during the sweepstakes and after it’s completed. Without this section, information must remain confidential.

8. Facebook Disclosure

Similar to the use of disclosed information, this will list basic details about Facebook confidentiality and disclosure, and will relieve Facebook of any association with the sweepstakes.

9. Miscellaneous

Use this area to list any additional rules and to state that both the sponsor and any participants are bound to each of these regulations.

Be sure to take a look at our example of sweepstakes rules. You can also review the specific wording used in the Raffle and Poker Runs Act to ensure your event doesn’t fall into this illegal category.

Need More Info About Running a Sweepstakes?

Do you have more questions about what qualifies as a sweepstakes or what the rules are? Would you like to host a sweepstakes at your bar, restaurant, or establishment to promote your video slot machines? Call your marketing representative to learn more about the rules and regulations you must follow. Our team can assist you in setting up your own sweepstakes and helping you come up with marketing ideas that will boost traffic to the event.

Contact us to learn more about how to host a sweepstakes at your establishment.


9 Things You’ll Need to Prepare for Your AHG Site Inspection

You’ve been running a successful business or have everything in place to get it up and running. As an industry veteran, you’ve certainly seen how adding video gaming to establishments can help attract more customers and boost bottom lines. You’ve done your research and have chosen to partner with Illinois’ leading Terminal Operator, Awesome Hand Gaming. You’ve signed the agreement and let Awesome Hand Gaming guide you in applying for your gaming license.

Once the agreement has been submitted, fingerprinting is completed, and the background check has been performed, the Illinois Gaming Board will schedule for a special agent to come out and conduct a site inspection at your establishment. To ensure this is as seamless as possible, Awesome Hand Gaming reminds you to gather the required documents and ensure you have all the licenses available. To help streamline this process even more, we’ve put together this comprehensive list of the nine things you’ll need to prepare for your AHG site inspection.

1. State Liquor License

One of the first things you’ll need to have ready is your state liquor license. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission has made renewing your license easier than ever with their new online system. It is as simple as setting up an online account, registering your location and brands, then renewing it when needed.

2. Local Liquor License

In addition to your state liquor license, you will also need to provide your local approval and certificate of insurance. If yours is not current, be sure to contact your local ABC agency to get the necessary forms filled out and submitted for renewal. The license must be up-to-date for your site inspection.

3. Liquor Inspection Report

Along the same vein, the most recent copy of your liquor inspection report will also be required for your site assessment. This will be part of your licensing renewal, so you should already have this report in your files. The IGB special agent will need full access to review this report, as well as the previously mentioned licenses.

4. Drivers Licenses

In addition to the owners having their fingerprints registered, the inspector will also need a copy of each owner’s drivers license. If the video gaming manager is not an owner, his or her fingerprints and driver’s license will be needed as well.

5. Lease Agreement

If you don’t own the building where you are located, please prepare a copy of your lease agreement to give the investigator at the site inspection. They will also request to see the proposed area where you plan to use the video gaming machines. The surrounding area, including the floors, bar, and coolers, will all need to be finished prior to the inspection.

6. Illinois Business Tax Authorization

In order to conduct any business in Illinois, you must be registered with the Illinois Department of Revenue. This includes obtaining an IDOR Account ID, also known as an Illinois Business Tax Number (IBT). You’ll also be required to present your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) to confirm you are prepared for federal taxes.

7. Gaming Agreement

A copy of your gaming agreement between you and AHG is also required (the AHG representative will likely bring an additional copy). This agreement will have a detailed summary regarding the memorandum of understanding, federal gaming procedures, consumer protection specifics, and the division of special revenue. Additional information will be listed on an as needed basis for each location’s agreement.

8. Department of Justice Registration Letter

AHG handles the process of sending in your gambling device registration to the Department of Justice on behalf of your business. A copy of your Department of Justice Registration letter will be sent to both your email and Awesome Hand Gaming, who will bring it to the site inspection.

9. Pictures

It is pertinent that all owners and video gaming managers be present for the inspection and are prepared to have their picture taken. The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) requires updated identification photos on file for security purposes. They are also used to verify the individuals who are qualified to access confidential information and to prevent fraud.

Ready for your Site Inspection?

Once you’ve gone through the aforementioned steps, your location’s application will be sent to the Illinois Gaming Board for a vote. This meeting typically happens once a month.

Awesome Hand Gaming’s team of slot machine and gaming experts will be present and engaged throughout this entire process to ensure your video gaming license is acquired the right way. Once you have your license, our team will install up to five slot machines.

If you have any questions about this process, or if you’re interested in putting Awesome Hand Gaming slot terminals in your location, click the button below to email us. Get gaming today!