The Differences Between Casinos & Illinois Video Gaming Systems

While slot machines and casinos are found throughout Illinois, the state is seeing a significant shift in where the overall gaming revenue is coming from. Many local establishments are now adding video slot machines to their locations and have been experiencing tremendous boosts in their bottom line. With Illinois gaming machines and video gaming terminals (VGTs), restaurants, bars, and truck stops are succeeding with Illinois video gaming revenue, thanks to some recent changes.

Previously, the state of Illinois followed nothing more than the Riverboat Gambling Act of 1990 and the Video Gaming Act of 2009 to regulate casinos and the Illinois gaming machine industry.

More recently, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act on June 28, 2019. Because of this change, the Illinois Gaming Board now allows more Illinois gaming machines and systems per location, opening the door for added Illinois video gaming revenue.

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Slant Top Cabinet Slot Machines Versus Upright Cabinet Slot Machines

Different types of Illinois gaming systems offer varying levels of performance and features. With a slant top cabinet slot machine, you get a machine that can stand up on its own. Meanwhile, upright cabinet Illinois gaming systems must be placed in a base at a set location.

An upright cabinet gaming machine is generally easier to place in a line. This is because the separators and bases are connected to each other. Using upright Illinois gaming systems helps to provide a cohesive look for your bar or restaurant.

While upright and slant cabinets use the same software, a slant cabinet Illinois slot machine can be placed farther away from other cabinets because it doesn’t need a base. This type of device creates a larger gaming area, so it is better for bigger, more spacious Illinois video gaming locations.

The Differences Between Casinos & Illinois Video Gaming SystemsWhy Do Independent Video Gaming Locations Have More Games on Their Illinois Gaming Machines Than Casinos?

When comparing Illinois slot machines in casinos and slot machines at Illinois video gaming locations such as restaurants and bars, you will most likely notice how the amount of games varies on each machine. In general, a casino will have a set number of Illinois gaming systems focused on a single game. At independent locations, you will find multiple games on the exact same gaming system.

This occurs because the Illinois video gaming location can only have a maximum of six Illinois gaming systems. To make up for having only six Illinois gaming systems, each machine includes multiple games rather than only one. Because of this, the visitor has a higher amount of choices on a machine, making the selection similar to that of a casino.

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Casinos Are Suffering From Falling Revenue

Casinos have started to see a decline in their normal monthly revenue. The most recent numbers show that Illinois casino revenue has fallen by 3% this year. To make the situation worse for casinos, there will soon be up to six new casinos competing with the current 10 casinos in the state.

The main reason for their decline is that more people are choosing to play on Illinois slot machines in local restaurants, bars, and truck stops rather than making the trip to the casino. According to a report released by the Commission on Government Forecasting & Accountability on September 12, 2019, Illinois brought in more than $1.4 billion in tax revenues from horse racing, casinos, the lottery, and Illinois gaming systems for the budget year through June 30th. This is 3.5% higher than it was the year before.

Currently, the state may be dealing with a decline in casino revenue, but is seeing a significant increase in overall gambling-related revenue. This surprising contradiction is due in large part to the Illinois gaming machines across independent establishments. While riverboats and casinos are facing an uphill battle, independent businesses are gaining additional market share in the state.

Illinois video gambling began in 2012 and by 2017, it was already bringing in more revenue than casinos. For many years, riverboat casinos were the success story of the gambling industry. In 2003, riverboat casinos became the main source of gambling revenue in the state. At the time, riverboat casinos brought in $554 million in tax revenue compared to the lotto’s $540 million.

While Illinois casinos enjoyed a peak revenue of $699 million in 2005, revenue has declined almost every year since then. Last year, casino revenue was at only $260 million, which was an almost 62% drop.

In 2008, the lottery was the largest source of state revenue from gambling. Last year, the lottery was the source of more than half of tax revenue from wagering. In 2018, the lottery brought in $735 million in state tax revenue.

Casino revenue has been decreasing for about a decade, and this trend is only likely to continue. With so many Illinois gaming machines available at restaurants and bars, consumers have more options than ever before for placing a wager.

The Differences Between Casinos & Illinois Video Gaming SystemsHow the Illinois Gaming Board Regulates Casinos and Illinois Gaming Machines

When it comes to Illinois gaming systems, slot machines are treated differently than casinos. At a casino, staff members from the Illinois Gaming Board must be physically at the casino at all times. With bars, restaurants, and similar locations, someone from the Illinois Gaming Board merely monitors the Illinois slot machines using a central communications system.

The Video Gaming Act requires all Illinois gaming systems to be monitored through this system which was created by Scientific Games International. The program makes it possible for the Illinois Gaming Board to remotely turn machines off, deactivate certain games, or disable Illinois video gaming services if needed. When a licensed location is facing disciplinary action, the system can also shut the machine down.

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Awesome Hand Gaming is known for distributing and maintaining the best Illinois gaming systems. We bring video slot machines to local establishments like bars, truck stops, and restaurants. From video slot machine installation to Illinois liquor license guidance, our team is committed to helping you through each step required to enter the video gaming industry in Illinois. With more than 80 years of experience, we have the skills and know-how you need to handle management, route operations, gaming system maintenance, legal and marketing services for your gaming enterprise.

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Popular Games and Slot Machines In Illinois To Try Your Luck

Many locations that carry our slot machines ask us: what are the newest and most popular video slot machines for our customers to win big? Because of our years in the slot machine industry, we’ve been able to stay at the forefront of the best terminal operators and games in the biz. We offer the latest upright and slant-top slot machines that rival any other Illinois Terminal Operator.

Each individual slot & gaming machine has a suite of different types of games, including poker and reel slot games. Illinois slot and gaming machines are developed specifically for the Illinois gaming market, but many of the same gaming titles can be found in casinos. Awesome Hand Gaming’s video slot machines can give you games from well-known gaming manufacturers, including Bally, WMS, IGT, and Spielo. WMS and Bally are owned by parent company, Scientific Games, while UK-based gaming company, G-Tech, owns Spielo. IGT and G-Tech have since merged.

We know, it’s hard to keep them straight. To keep your players coming back, we’re imparting some of our gaming wisdom to our customers in this all-inclusive guide to these game manufacturers with which we’re currently partnered. Let’s get gaming!

Scientific Games

Scientific Games is a global gaming giant based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Scientific Games manufactures casino, interactive, and instant lottery games designed to reach players on a multitude of channels, whether it’s retail or digital. Its renowned expertise in the gaming and slot machineindustry began in 1974 when the company created the first secure instant lottery game. Since then, it has delivered on groundbreaking gaming technologies, game content, customized programs, and managed services. Over 85 years, Scientific Games has acquired countless gaming and slot machine brands that have made it one of the most recognized gaming companies in the world. Moreover, Scientific Games provides the Central Communication System for the Illinois Gaming Board, which offers real-time communication and control between every licensed VGT and the state of Illinois.

Scientific Games owns WMS and Bally gaming brands, both very popular in their own right. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when playing WMS and Bally video slot machines and games.


Bally has been bringing the excitement with its cutting-edge technology and the biggest licenses to global players for generations. Bally has an expansive library of games from notable names in entertainment to suit a variety of tastes.

AHG’s Illinois gaming and slot machines will give you access to a variety of Bally games, including the following:

  • Blazing 7’s
  • Playboy
  • Dragon Fire Keno
  • Cash Me If You Can
  • Mega Winner
  • Deuces Wild Poker
  • 777 Wild


WMS is known for having some of the most visually stunning, optimal software on the market. Its enticing cabinets have captured audiences and kept them engaged for years. Some of the most popular games from WMS you can play to win are:

  • Win 500
  • Spartacus
  • Snow Leopard
  • Legendary Warrior
  • Gold Fish 3
  • Monopoly


G-Tech is a UK-based gaming and slot machine manufacturer and one of the world’s leading end-to-end gaming providers. G-Tech offers businesses best-in-class solutions via multiple gaming channels, such as retail, web, and mobile. IGT and G-Tech merged in 2015, creating a global lottery gaming and video slot machine powerhouse. Spielo is G-Tech’s product brand.


IGT fuels its gaming innovations based on consumer data, creating games that suit specific consumer needs. This is how IGT is able to consistently deliver leading entertainment and life-changing jackpots.

Just some of the games that are available for slot play are the following favorites:

  • Lucky Larry’s Lobstermania 2
  • Ice Hot Video Slots
  • Raging Wild
  • Black Widow
  • Golden Goddess
  • Lotus Flower


Due to G-Tech’s partnership with IGT, Spielo is the product of one of the world’s leading lottery businesses and top gaming developers in the industry. Spielo has been ideally positioned to deliver a full range of games across all international markets. Odds are, if you go into any place with a casino or slot machine room, you’ll find Spielo games to play.

Speaking of Spielo games, some of the most popular Spielo games you can find with AHG are:

  • Dragon’s Temple
  • Doctor BoneJangles
  • Icarus the Journey
  • Wild Wild East
  • Wild Mermaid
  • Big City 5’s
Well, there you have it: AHG’s guide to the most popular slot machine games in the Illinois gaming market. Would you like more information or are you looking to partner with us?  Adding video slot machines to your bar or restaurant is an excellent way to attract new customers and earn additional revenueCONTACT AWESOME HAND GAMING today to see how we can help your customers win big!

5 Reasons to Play Video Slots at your Local Bar

In 2009, the State of Illinois enacted legislation legalizing the use of video gaming terminals in liquor licensed establishments which include truck stops, fraternal organizations, and veterans establishments. Allowing Vegas-style slot action in Chicagoland’s backyard has tremendously impacted the economic well-being of municipalities, park districts, and, most importantly, local businesses. Playing slots locally at your favorite bar & restaurant – instead of a corporate-run casino – assures your hard earned cash will help small business owners employ more staff, improve their locations, and so much more. Not to mention, playing video slots at your local watering hole is so much more fun because you’re surrounded with your friends.


So, without further ado, here are 5 reasons to play video slots at your local bar:


  1. Go where “everybody knows your name.” Like the hit sitcom Cheers, wouldn’t it be fun to walk into a bar where everyone knows you’re the luckiest son of a gun around? On the flip side, be prepared to catch some heat after a few cold spins on the slots.
  2. Rub it in your buddy’s face when you win big. You know what’s fun? Winning money. You know what’s even more fun? Flashing your video slot winnings in your buddy’s face after hitting the jackpot. Since your buddy’s a loser, he probably wouldn’t have been able to get to Vegas for a weekend of winnings, so let him have it when you meet up for cold ones after work on Friday.
  3. Play video slots while watching your favorite Chicago team. With the Bulls and the Blackhawks poised to make deep runs in the playoffs, double down on all the sports action while getting lucky on the slots. Cubs fans can keep the excitement of a promising season going while max betting on any of Awesome Hand’s IGT, GTECH, Bally or WMS games. Sox fans, well, they can get a “pick-me-up” from early season struggles when they hit the video slot jackpot.
  4. Impress your dream girl (or guy) with your wad of winnings. Friday night and in walks that smokin’ hot blonde you’ve had your eye on for weeks. With your payout burning a hole in your pocket, you’ll finally have the confidence to introduce yourself. Who says you can’t get lucky twice in one night?
  5. Protect your town. By playing video slots at your local bar, you’re helping your town keep money local, rather than lining the pockets of corporate fatcats. Local video gaming saves and creates jobs while providing a fun, entertaining experience.


Want to know where to play video slots in your neck of the woods? Click the locations button below to find out!