Why The Illinois VGT Industry Doesn’t Want Online Casino Legalized

Written By Joe Boozell on May 25, 2021Last Updated on February 15, 2022
vgts illinois online casino

The time is running out to go Illinois virtual casino legislation this session.

Although there are bills to expand online casinos in the House and Senate, operators of video gaming terminals ( VGT ) are adamantly opposed to it out of concern for cannibalization.

In a House Executive Committee meeting in late April, online casino advocates and detractors stated their cases.

Ultimately, it became clear that the VGT industry is the biggest hurdle to legalizing online casino gaming in Illinois.

Let’s examine Illinois VGTs in more detail and discover why their operators oppose expanded online games.

In Illinois, what are VGTs?

VGTs are comparable to the slot machines you might find in a game. VGTs can be found at:

  • Child pleasure stores
  • Bars
  • fraternal organizations and rsquo, gathering sites, lodges, etc.
  • petrol facilities
  • wine shops
  • Nightclubs
  • Restaurants
  • Taverns
  • Vehicle halts
  • Soldiers, companies, and gathering places, such as VFW halls, are examples.

There are nearly 40,000 VGTs in Illinois.

VGTs offer another income stream for these kinds of companies.

The state of Illinois earned nearly $70 million in tax revenue off of VGTs in April alone.

Because there are so many VGTs in Illinois, the majority of companies that own them aren’t making money off of them. Even so, it & rsquo is another source of income at a time when many bars and restaurants are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic‘s effects.

Therein lies the conflict between supporters of online casinos and VGT users.

VGT providers are afraid of cannibalism and rsquo.

When discussing online casinos and VGTs at the House meeting, witnesses frequently used the words”& ldquo ,”” cannibalization ,” and””

The concern for VGT users is that legalized online casinos may deter players from playing at them because the game selections are comparable.

State Sen.Dave Syverson shed some light to Play Illinois in August about why there could be a lot of opposition to expanded internet gaming:

The meager amount of video games that & ldquo, bars, and restaurants currently have going to help them stay in business after being recently destroyed by the state of Illinois’s overly onerous COVID laws. Many restaurants and bars would have to close if they lost VGT revenue to the internet, according to We & rsquo. & rdquo,

At the conference, State Rep. Tim Butler was the most outspoken opponent of legalizing online casinos. Mom-and-pop organizations that aren’t games rely on revenue from VGTs, he said. & rdquo,

Butler also objected to the supporters & rsquo case, which mainly focused on how online casinos wouldn’t cannibalize brick-and-mortar casinos rather than VGTs.

At the hearing, Jeff Kaplan, vice chairman of proper financial planning for Penn National Gaming, made reference to cannibalism in physical casinos:

Prior to the pandemic, we examined our customers to see if there had been any cannibalization of our brick-and-mortar income, and what we discovered was that iGaming was almost wholly comparable to our offline play. & rdquo,

Therefore, while it & rsquo is good news that brick-and-mortar establishments are on board with the legalization of online casinos in Illinois, VGTs continue to be a significant barrier.

Advocates for online casinos pointed out that VGT clients typically skew older than online gaming customers in response to worries.

Will playing at an online casino definitely cannibalize VGTs?

The million-dollar problem is that, and we can’t say with certainty. That & rsquo, s because there isn’t a lot of information on the subject.

We don’t include a case study that compares apples to apples with this one. Both virtual casinos and VETs are not permitted in the majority of states.

On one hand, it’s easy to see the logic from the VGT side. Because the game offerings would be similar and online casino games would be more accessible, it’s not hard to connect those dots.

Online casino providers, on the other hand, are aiming a diverse audience than VGT customers, as opponents said at the hearing. The goal is for more people to start playing video games rather than to destroy the VGT market. Both companies may coexist, according to supporters.

The State Senate recently filed a bill asking for a report on how much online casino revenue Illinois would have made if internet gaming was legal prior to the pandemic. In it, the deadline for the report is Oct. 1, 2021.

While that & rsquo is not good news for online casinos in the Land of Lincoln this session, the future is a little brighter.

M. Spencer Green’s pictures, AP
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Boozell, Joe

Boozell, Joe has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene … you can imagine how that went.

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