Introduction to Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019
Illinois slot machine casino gambling consists of ten riverboat casinos, the second U.S. state to offer them, as well as video gaming terminals (VLTs) in small businesses approved by local governments.
Illinois’ riverboat casinos have both minimum and maximum payout limits and monthly return statistics publicly available.
This post continues my weekly State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series, an online resource dedicated to guiding slot machine casino gambler to success. Now in its third year, each weekly post reviews slots gambling in a single U.S. state, territory, or federal district.
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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Illinois*
The minimum legal gambling age in illinois does not depend upon the gambling activity:
- 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 horseracing 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.
Each riverboat is legally authorized to have up to a total of 1,200 gaming machines including positions available at table games. The Illinois Gaming Board assumes each craps table offers ten positions while all other table games and keno offer only five gaming positions.
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 all the 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.”
The Act also offered local municipalities the ability to opt-out of hosting these video gaming terminal locations. Nevertheless, it took until 2012 for the Illinois Gaming Board to provide mass approvals for these video gaming licenses to many license applicants.
*The purpose of this section is to inform the public of state gambling laws and how the laws might apply to various forms of gaming. It is not legal advice.
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 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 the ten riverboat casinos. The ICGA provides statistics on charitable giving by the riverboat casinos as well as supporting responsible gaming.
Casinos in Illinois
There are ten riverboat casinos in Illinois.
The largest casino in Illinois is Hollywood Casino Joliet with 1,177 gaming machines, 20 table games, and five poker tables.
The second-largest casino is Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino with 1,172 gaming machines, 21 table games, and five poker tables.
Commercial Casinos in Illinois
The ten riverboat casinos in Illinois are:
- Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino located 158 miles south of Peoria and across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
- Casino Queen in East St. Louis located 165 miles south of Peoria and across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin located 42 miles west of downtown Chicago.
- Harrah’s Joliet located 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
- Harrah’s Metropolis located in the southernmost tip of Illinois or 167 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.
- Hollywood Casino Aurora located 42 miles west of downtown Chicago.
- Hollywood Casino Joliet located 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island located 101 miles northwest of Peoria on the Mississippi River border to Iowa.
- Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria located three miles northwest of Peoria.
- Rivers Casino in Des Plaines located 20 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
In November 2019, 7,149 retail locations in Illinois offered video lottery terminals. In total, there are 33,019 active VLT gaming machines. Given riverboat casinos have at most 1,200 slot machines each, VLTs at local businesses equate to nearly 30 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 Group
Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Illinois? If so, join our new Illinois slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to join this closed Facebook Group freely.
There, you’ll be able to privately share your slots experiences as well as chat with players about slots gambling in Illinois. Join us!
Payout Returns in Illinois
Illinois has established payout limits of 80% and 100% over the lifetime of a slot machine. Further, the Illinois Gaming Board provides monthly return statistics for Casino Gaming as well as for Video Gaming.
The November 2019 report on return statistics for the month of October at the ten riverboat casinos of Illinois include the following Player Win%:
- Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino: 90.94%
- Casino Queen: 91.57%
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin: 90.97%
- Harrah’s Joliet: 92.24%
- Harrah’s Metropolis: 89.17%
- Hollywood Casino Aurora: 90.14%
- Hollywood Casino Joliet: 91.15%
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel: 90.18%
- Par-A-Dice Casino: 91.06%
- Rivers Casino: 90.47%
Obtain player win percentages from the report by subtracting the entry for Electronic Gaming Device Adjusted Gross Return Percentage (EGD AGR %) from 100%.
In the month of October 2019, the statewide player win percentage was 90.91%. The highest payout return was Harrah’s Joliet at 92.24% while the lowest was Harrah’s Metropolis at 89.17%
For VLTs, the statewide player win percentage was 91.7%. Detailed monthly reports at Video Gaming Revenue Reports offer the player win percentage at each of the more than 7,000 retail businesses with VLTs. To determine the win percentage for where you play VLTs, divide Amount Won by Amount Played in the VGT Wagering Activity section.
Summary of Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019
Illinois slot machine casino gambling consists of ten riverboat casinos and VLT electronic gaming machines at 7,149 local businesses such as bars, restaurants, and other licensed non-casino locations.
Minimum and maximum legal limits for slot machines are 80% and 100%, respectively, over the lifetime of the game. Further, monthly return statistics are publicly available.
Annual Progress in Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling
In November 2019, there were 7,149 VLT locations with a total of 33,019 VLTs, a 12.4% increase in locations and a 16.7% increase in terminals from the previous year. Annual income tax revenue from gaming increased by nearly 17%. This tax income increase included a share of $83M for local municipalities which offer video gaming.
Up to six new casinos may come to the Chicago area, including a Hard Rock Casino in the city of Rockford. Submitted casino proposals arrived at the Illinois Gaming Board in October 2019.
Further, in November 2019, the Illinois Gaming Board approved Rivers Casino to no longer be a riverboat casino. Instead, it has become a land-based casino with unlimited slots and table games. Other Illinois riverboat casinos will also become land-based casinos as part of a planned massive gambling expansion.
Other State-By-State Articles from Professor Slots
- Online Resource: State-By-State Slot Machine Casino Gambling Series
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- Next: Indiana Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2019