Illinois lawmakers have decided to update legislation surrounding the Illinois video gaming industry as the state’s senate passed a new bill on June 2, 2019. While a few of the changes to things like taxes were not in the gaming industry’s favor, there were also a handful of improvements.
The Illinois Video Gaming Act (230 ILCS 40) can be viewed online in its entirety for more specific changes like the requirements for large truck stop establishments and the number of Illinois slot machines at state fairs. In addition, the act covers the number of Illinois gaming machines available in restaurants and bars as well as taxes on the facility’s revenue. Illinois video gaming industry leaders can enjoy new changes to the betting and jackpot limits.
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This new bill is expected to further develop the Illinois gaming machine industry, especially within the Chicago suburbs. One major change for restaurants and bars is the number of Illinois slot machines allowed per location. Previously, these establishments could only have five video slot machines at any location but this has since been increased to a total of six video slot machines.
There will also be changes for the Illinois State Fair and the DuQuoin Fair. Now, the DuQuoin State Fair can have up to 30 Illinois gaming machines, while the larger Illinois State Fair can have as many as 50 gaming machines. Meanwhile, beer tents can host up to 10 slot machines within their designated space.
According to the act, owners of these Illinois gaming machines can expect to see a tax hike on their net terminal income (NTI). Starting on July 1, 2019, all Illinois slot machines are required to pay an extra 3 percent in taxes on NTI, an adjustment that will raise the numbers from 30% to 33%.
Next year, the taxes will go up another 1% on July 1, 2020, with a shared obligation to pay this increased tax amount by both the Illinois Video Gaming Terminal Operator and the licensed Illinois gaming machine location.
Video gambling in Illinois is also about to change due to adjustments in the large truck stops category. The new Illinois gaming machines legislation allows licensed large truck stop establishments to have up to 10 slot machines. This rule was originally going to replace the rules concerning regular truck stop establishments and remove them, but a last-minute change prevented a potential battle about retroactively outlawing previous gaming at regular truck stops.
To be considered a large truck stop, the location must be within three road miles of a freeway interchange. It must also sell at least 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel every month. This is higher than the previous rule, which required only 10,000 gallons.
Originally, legislators were going to add the requirements for large truck stops without considering the smaller establishments that already have Illinois gaming machines. This would have made these establishments illegal and set up a conflict regarding whether to make this bill retroactive or not. But by allowing large truck stops more Illinois slot machines than regular truck stops, the legislature was able to avoid that dispute.
Illinois video gaming will also see changes come to slot machine limits and award amounts. Previously, the maximum Illinois video gaming betting limit on slot machines was at $2 but has since been raised up to $4.
There are also changes for in-location bonus jackpots. In the Illinois video gambling legislation, wagers that are placed at one or more slot machines within a single establishment can reach a cumulative jackpot of a maximum of $10,000. This modification will make Illinois video gaming locations even more competitive with area casinos.
There are rules in place regarding how fast Illinois Video Gaming Terminal Operators must pay jackpot winners. The operator must payout within three days after the win takes place.
Another change was made to the maximum win for any Illinois slot machine. When someone plays an individual hand, they can now win up to $1,199, a large improvement from what was once only $500.
This change to the maximum win and bet limits is expected to help video slot machines math models, leading to a significant Illinois video gaming revenue boost for the establishment’s owner.
Illinois video gaming establishments can also enjoy having streamlined services and updates. In the past, agents from the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) had to be physically at the site whenever someone performed services on an Illinois gaming machine, but those rules have also been changed.
Once the Illinois Gaming Board regulations are enacted, licensed terminal handlers can take charge of activities like carrying out go-lives, clearing RAM, installing software upgrades, and moving Illinois slot machines for repairs. Since an Illinois Gaming Board agent no longer has to be physically present, this change makes repairs, updates, and game changes faster and easier. The change is expected to boost earnings and decrease downtime for Illinois gaming machines.
There will be a few other changes for the Illinois gaming machine industry including rules surrounding malls. Specifically, any entity that runs video slot machines in multiple locations cannot operate as a video gaming business in Illinois.
In the gaming act, a mall is a building or adjoining buildings that have four or more separate locations. The Illinois Gaming Board does not allow an entity to become a licensed Illinois slot machine location if the entity runs gaming machines at more than one location as a part of a single gaming operation.
Another exciting update will happen for sports betting. Now, Illinois will allow sports betting at horse racetracks, existing casinos, and sports stadiums. In addition to these locations, the state is authorizing online sports betting.
This means video gambling in Illinois has another option for bringing in customers. It is now possible to bring in consumers to watch a sports game while they bet on their mobile device. For establishments like restaurants and bars, this offers yet another exciting way to grow revenue.
Are you thinking of adding Illinois video gaming machines to your establishment? These recent changes to video gambling in Illinois are making it a greater benefit than ever before to your business and its bottom line.
Awesome Hand Gaming is the top video gaming terminal operator in Illinois. We’ll assist you with everything from the licensing process and getting your Illinois gaming machines to providing marketing assistance and regular maintenance.
Get in touch today to learn more and see how Awesome Hand Gaming can help you boost Illinois gaming revenue and make your desire for video gaming at your business a reality!