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!




Secure Your Slot Machines with Your Terminal Operator

We’ve all seen the blockbuster films showing heists in Las Vegas where the thieves make off with briefcases holding millions of dollars. While these can make for entertaining television, they identify some real security risks to locations that offer video slot machines. As we have seen in recent news, no establishment is immune to these security risks no matter how big or small.

Awesome Hand Gaming is an Illinois terminal operator that offers complimentary security evaluations for all establishments that partner with us. As circumstances change over time, these evaluations help to strengthen the security of the building, video slot machines, employees, and customers.

What Our Team Does During Security Assessments

To ensure that nothing is overlooked, our terminal operator staff goes through every detail of the building so it can make the best recommendations and suggest effective changes. Here are a few of the things we look at with each complimentary security evaluation.

Security Cameras

We will examine your security alarm and check the camera system (should you have them) to ensure they’re working effectively. We will also install our own security camera that maintains a clear view of the entire video slot machine area and adheres to the IGB inducement policies. Especially with expensive slot machines, it’s vital you know who is coming in and out of your location.

Opening & Closing Procedures

It is vital to safety and security that proper opening and closing procedures are followed every day in any establishment with video slot machines. This includes proper use of the security alarm, conducting routine walkthroughs, as well as keeping doors locked until opening time and after closing.

Lighting & Cleanliness

The appearance and cleanliness of a business can be a key factor in attracting or deterring crimes on the premises. Our team of terminal operators will also ensure there is sufficient lighting in all areas of the property and video slot machine area to alleviate shadows and allow for the detection of shapes and colors.

Windows, Doors, & Locking Mechanisms

Sometimes a simple door lock isn’t enough to keep a location secure. Our Illinois terminal operators will check all of the windows and doors to ensure they are up to the necessary standard.

Landscaping & Ground Maintenance

Similar to an establishment’s lighting, proper landscaping and maintenance can play a major role in how likely a video slot machine location is to be targeted. While some bushes and other vegetation can be used for concealing intruders, others can be used to inhibit their ability to reach windows and other access points. Our terminal operators can help you find the proper balance.

How Security Evaluations Help

It’s not just for your slot machines’ safety, but yours, too. We are an Illinois terminal operator that provides security recommendations to minimize safety issues. It’s our goal to reduce the potential for burglary and theft at your restaurant, business, establishment, or bar. We focus our efforts on each specific location to make it difficult for would-be criminals to vandalize or steal video slot machine equipment and other materials from the establishment.

When assessing the specific needs of each location with our complimentary security evaluation, we can also determine if there are any particular practices that need to be adjusted. For example, if an employee is leaving the back door open when they go outside to take a smoke break, new guidelines should be set to prevent those potential problems. Along with these evaluations, our security team can also assist with:

  • Underage compliance training for your employees – Setting up compliance checks to ensure your staff is adhering to the law, and assure that necessary signage prohibiting underage gaming is always visible.
  • Customer disputes – Assisting with payout disputes and other slot machine issues that may arise with guests.
  • Theft complaints – Occasionally someone’s purse may go missing or an individual will cash out another person’s ticket. We can work with local police on the customer’s’ behalf.
  • Criminal damage – AHG can help find individuals who break or tamper with any video slot machine and gaming equipment.
  • State and local gaming and liquor-related issues – Help ensure all of the proper licenses are posted within view and are always up-to-date.


Schedule Your Complimentary Security Evaluation Today

To avoid being the next targeted location showing up on the local news, click HERE to schedule your complimentary security evaluation.


Partner With The Right Slot Machine & Terminal Operator

Finding a terminal operator (TO) for your location is kind of like dating: you hold out for the right one and ask the hard questions to know what you’re getting into.

As a licensed TO, Awesome Hand Gaming is constantly going through the legal and logistical process of onboarding and installing slot machines in various locations. We’re here to cut through the jargon and deliver honest answers to your most pressing questions about how to find the right video slot machine operator.

How will the slot machine operator help you through the application process?

While the process of putting video slot machines into your establishment is relatively simple, it can be tedious and time-consuming. It all starts with an application.

Awesome Hand Gaming is present through each step of the application process required to obtain a video slot machine. From ensuring you have the baseline requirements (business location, your FEIN [federal employer tax identification number], your IBT [Illinois business tax number], and your federal and state liquor licenses) to site inspections with the Illinois Gaming Board, we go through it with you. We’ve helped countless locations scout out business locations, apply for liquor licenses, and fill out the video gaming application. From the beginning, we make it clear we are partners.

How can your terminal operator financially contribute?

There are slot machine operators out there that promise the world. They’ll say they’ll remodel your place, pay for permanent signage, etc. (which is illegal, by the way). The Video Gaming Act, Section 25(c) states the following:

“No terminal operator may give anything of value, including but not limited to a loan or financing arrangement, to a licensed establishment, licensed truck stop establishment, licensed fraternal establishment, or licensed veterans establishment as an incentive or inducement to locate video terminals in that establishment.”

Similarly, Rule 1800.270(d) provides that Licensed Video Gaming Locations “accept nothing of value from any video terminal operator or any agent or representative of any video terminal operator as an incentive or inducement to locate, keep or maintain video gaming terminals at the licensed video gaming location.”

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that your slot machine operator maintains a collaborative, transparent relationship with its attorney(s) to help interpret this law as it applies to your location.

AHG is in touch with their attorney on a daily basis so our team is always updated on legal restrictions. We do – and will do – everything we can to help our video slot machine locations, but that also means ensuring we’re all abiding by the law. We go by the book to avoid fines and eliminate risks of losing licenses for both ourselves and our locations.

How does your video slot machine operator ensure they are complying with Illinois Law?

It’s important that you and your video slot machine operator is advertising the slot machines legally. Whether this is through signage or digital assets, it’s important that an attorney is on standby to advise on advertising, sweepstakes, and contest rules.

The AHG marketing team regularly contacts our attorney when new or unique advertising opportunities arise. We are always on the forefront of advertising while ensuring it’s done legally.

How speedy is your terminal operator’s service team?

Accidents happen. Slot machines freeze, and it’s important to be able to tell a guest how long they might have to wait for their favorite game to be up and running. Will you know what to do if and, inevitably, when this happens?

The good news: AHG service technicians work around the clock. When our locations with slot machines go live, a sign with our maintenance service line is posted above, around, or next to the video slot machines for easy access. The caller is prompted to leave a message that will be delivered to all of the service technicians. A service technician will field the message and arrive at the slot machine location within an hour.

How often will your slot machine operator visit your establishment?

While some establishments might just want their gaming commission checks, there’s far more involved that affects the big picture, such as promotions, theft prevention, administrative concerns, and more.

Between service technicians, collectors, marketing representatives, security managers, and AHG’s owner Chris McSwain, locations can expect an AHG representative at their location at least once a week. We are a video slot machine operator that makes sure all locations have a main point of contact to regularly communicate all activities. As you move forward in your relationship with AHG, locations can expect to know all of their representatives pretty personally (but not too personally…).  

Get Gaming with Awesome Hand Gaming!


This Summer’s Must-Visit Chain O’Lakes Bars

With the official first day of summer finally here, outdoor festivities are the sure way to go when it comes to celebrating the season. But of course, our locations and their patrons want to game during the summer as well. Luckily for them, we have waterfront locations along the Chain O’Lakes to keep them gaming all summer long.

Chain O’Lakes is a recreational waterway consisting of 15 lakes, including the Fox River and other channels. Just about an hour away from Chicago, it attracts tens to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the weekends and holidays.

AHG Waterfront Locations

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Port Edward Restaurant
20 West Algonquin Road
Algonquin, IL 60102
Fox River

You can call this gaming location seafood heaven. With Friday night international seafood buffets, champagne Sunday brunches, live weekend music, and daily specials, this waterfront location is sure to please. They were even rated “Five Forks” by the food critic show, Check, Please. This is a Platinum Players App Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Hermann’s Bar and Grill
300 Center St. Port Barrington, IL 60010
Fox River

Established in the 1950s, this cozy, family-owned gaming location is a neighborhood favorite. Whether gamers like to enjoy the summer weather boating, fishing or cooling off playing darts, Hermann’s Bar and Grill has enough to keep them busy all day long. And if gamers get hungry, they can enjoy pizza and hot pretzels all day, with burgers until 5pm.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Broken Oar
614 Rawson Bridge Rd. Port Barrington, IL 60010
Fox River

Broken Oar Marina and Bar offers the most gorgeous, scenic views. Featuring a skydeck, full-service marina, an oar stage, and a party tent, this location is known for keeping its visitors entertained during the summer months. If gamers get thirsty, they can visit the beer garden, which just so happens to be the largest in McHenry County. This is a Platinum Players App Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Kief’s Reef
3505 S Wright Rd. McHenry, IL 60050
Fox River

This mom and pop tavern right off the Fox River welcomes boaters and gamers alike. Since 1987, this gaming location has offered great food and low prices. With fresh fish and daily specials, gamers are sure to leave both full and entertained. Visitors can park their boat in one of the eight boat slips (or park their car) at Kief’s Reef for some good summer fun.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Oak Park Lounge
801 Oak Grove Rd. Johnsburg, IL 60051
Pistakee Bay

Being the oldest bar in the Chain O’Lakes, this gamer location always aims to please with its scenic views and outdoor events. From their spectacular 4th of July fireworks show to occasional live bands, Oak Park Lounge is a great spot to relax on a summer night. They make a mean Bloody Mary, too.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Cabana’s on the Chain
614 W Bald Knob Rd.
Pistakee Bay

From the savory, one-of-a-kind kabobs to their over-the-top Bloody Mary, Cabana’s on the Chain doesn’t disappoint. The scenic views from the outdoor patio paired with the cozy decor and good company easily makes this a lounging favorite. This is a Loyalty Punch Card Rewards and Platinum Players App Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Aquarium Bar & Grill
139 Arthur Ave. Fox Lake, IL 60020
Nippersink Lake

With a name like Aquarium, it’s should come as no surprise that this water-themed bar offers their now infamous “minnow shots”, which include a small fish inside of them. Featured on Wild Chicago, ESPN, and Mancow, this off-the-lake gaming location welcomes both neighborhood regulars and visitors far and wide to check out their minnow aquarium or indulge in authentic tacos on Thursdays. This is a Loyalty Punch Card and Platinum Players App Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Squawbar Bar & Marina
800 Rollins Rd.
Ingleside, IL 60041
Squaw Creek

Enjoy an evening on eight acres of property off Squaw Creek at this gaming location. The perfect venue for parties and events, Squawbar offers plenty of game play options from video slots to volleyball, pool tables, darts, and even horseshoes. This is a Loyalty Punch Card Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Haling’s Resort
26365 W Lotus Rd. Antioch, IL 60002
Grass Lake

With a rich history stemming from the four generations of Haling’s family owners, this resort is a perfect gaming location for gamers to wind down. The year-round saloon within the resort offers five video gaming machines, and visitors can participate in swimming, fishing, and boating for outdoor fun. This is a Loyalty Punch Card Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Bridgeport Inn
42411 N Converse Rd. Antioch, IL 60002
Fox River

Gamers can enjoy a delicious burger, hand-cut french fries/potato chips, and Taco Tuesdays at this lakefront bar. For entertainment, pool tables and sand volleyball are available. This is a Loyalty Punch Card Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Sandbar Bar & Grille
42411 N Converse Rd. Antioch, IL 60002
Lake Marie

This boat and fisherman-friendly gaming location is the perfect place for bar food favorites and daily specials. When they’re not enjoying the latest Chicago sports games on the huge selection of TVs, patrons can enjoy the summer weather on the bar’s large deck and huge patio. This is a Loyalty Punch Card Rewards location.

Chain O'Lakes Bars

Nor Shore II
25164 North Ave. Antioch, IL 60002
Lake Catherine

This “true neighborhood bar” is a classic, simple spot for a casual drink and video gaming. Gamers can feel free to test out the jukebox, play darts, or reminisce through pictures of the bar in its swing days. This is a Loyalty Punch Card Rewards location.

Looking for more summer fun? Check out the rest of our gaming locations. Also, be sure to download our Platinum Players App to earn exclusive rewards when you game.

Featured Photo Credit: Mapio