Introduction to Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2021
Illinois slot machine casino gambling consists of ten riverboat casinos and two proposed commercial casinos as well as video gaming terminals (VLTs) in small businesses approved by their local municipalities.
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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Illinois
The minimum legal gambling age in Illinois depends upon the gambling activity:
- Land-Based Casinos: 21
- Poker Rooms: 21
- Bingo: 18
- Lottery: 18
- Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 18
The Illinois Riverboat Gambling Act enacted in February 1990 legalized riverboat gambling on open water outside of Cook County. This restriction protected wagering on horse racing in the Chicago area, approved in 1927.
Since 1990, Illinois has offered only ten gaming licenses for riverboat casinos. Originally, riverboat casinos in Illinois had to cruise, but a new state law in 1999 allowed permanent docking and authorized them to have 1,200 gaming machines including positions available at table games.
In 2005, the Illinois state legislature established an admissions tax of $2 or $3. Admission is $2 at Jumer’s Casino Rock Island and $3 at other riverboat casinos. Illinois riverboat casinos also has restricted hours of operation, closing for two hours each day, usually around 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
In 2009, the Illinois state legislature passed the Video Gaming Act, allowing video gaming terminals in “Licensed Retail Establishments, Truck Stops, Veteran and Fraternal Establishments” with approval by their local municipalities. There are 7,710 such licensed establishments.
On June 28, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act into law, making significant changes to gaming regulations in Illinois. These changes include two proposed casinos, the Hard Rock Casino Rockford and Southland Live Casino in Calumet City. Once approved, these proposed casinos will be the two largest casinos in Illinois.
The Illinois Gaming Board hosts a website with extensive and thoroughly detailed descriptions of its state gambling laws for Casino Gambling and Video Gaming.
Slot Machine Private Ownership in Illinois
In Illinois, it is legal to own a slot machine privately if manufactured 25 or more years ago.
Gaming Control Board in Illinois
The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) provides gaming regulations and tax collection for slot machine gambling activities in Illinois. It also has gaming control commissions for other forms of gambling including the Illinois Lottery and the Illinois Racing Board.
Further, the Illinois Casino Gaming Association (ICGA) represents nine of Illinois’ ten riverboat casinos. The ICGA provides statistics on charitable giving by the riverboat casinos as well as supporting responsible gaming.
Casinos in Illinois
Illinois has twelve commercial casinos, two of which are recently proposed casinos not yet under construction.
The largest casino in Illinois is Hollywood Casino Joliet with 1,177 gaming machines.
The second-largest casino is Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino with 1,172 gaming machines.
Commercial Casinos in Illinois
The twelve commercial casinos in Illinois are:
- Argosy Casino Alton, 158 miles south of Peoria and across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
- Casino Queen in East St. Louis, 165 miles south of Peoria and across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, 42 miles west of downtown Chicago.
- Hard Rock Casino Rockford, 89 miles northwest of downtown Chicago – proposed casino.
- Harrah’s Joliet, 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
- Harrah’s Metropolis in the southernmost tip of Illinois or 167 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.
- Hollywood Casino Aurora, 42 miles west of downtown Chicago.
- Hollywood Casino Joliet, 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, 101 miles northwest of Peoria on the Mississippi River border to Iowa.
- Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria, 3 miles northwest of Peoria.
- Rivers Casino Des Plaines, 20 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
- Southland Live Casino in Calumet City, 30 miles south of downtown Chicago – proposed casino.
In February 2021, 7,710 retail locations in Illinois offered 37,159 active video lottery terminal gaming machines controlled by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). Given Illinois’ ten riverboat casinos each have 1,200 slot machines at most, VLTs at local businesses equate to nearly 31 casinos of a similar size.
Tribal Casinos in Illinois
Illinois has no federally recognized American Indian tribes. Therefore, there are no tribal casinos in Illinois.
Other Gambling Establishments
As an alternative to enjoying Illinois slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state. Bordering Illinois is:
- North: Wisconsin Slots
- East: Indiana Slots
- Southeast: Kentucky Slots
- West: Iowa Slots and Missouri Slots
Each of the links above will take you to my blog for that neighboring U.S. state to Illinois.
Our Illinois Slots Facebook Community
Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Illinois? If so, join our Illinois slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to freely join this closed Facebook Group community.
There, you can meet online and privately share your slots experiences with local slots enthusiasts about playing slot machines in Illinois. Join us!
Payouts and Returns in Illinois
In the month of November 2020, the statewide average player win percentage was 91.8% for all VLTs. The Video Gaming Review Reports search tool under Monthly Reports allows anyone to find the player win percentage (i.e., amount won divided by amount played) for each of the licensed 7,000+ retailers offering video gaming.
Summary of Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2021
Illinois slot machine casino gambling consists of ten commercial casinos, two proposed casinos, and VLT electronic gaming machines at 7,710 local businesses such as bars, restaurants, and other licensed non-casino locations.
Annual Progress in Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling
In the last year, Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino changed its name to Argosy Casino Alton. Further, Rivers Casino will no longer be a riverboat casino per a 2019 ruling by the Illinois Gaming Board.
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