Saturday, September 15, 2012

Illinois Video Gaming Terminals

The state of Illinois is rolling out legal Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs); soon they will number in the thousands, placed in bars and restaurants and bowling alleys and so on. VGTs will not be available everywhere in Illinois, however, as many municipalities, including Chicago, have opted out.

The machines are limited to a payout of $500; one credit can cost no more than 25 cents, and a single play (multiple lines are available) cannot put the gambler back more than $2. (The technical standards (38-page pdf here) surprisingly make for some interesting reading: no "near misses," for instance (page 24).) But the VGTs are noted on this blog because it appears that there is no self-exclusion program connected to them -- at least I could find no mention of an applicable exclusion program at the relevant sections of the Illinois Gaming Board website. Of course, the scores of small-scale locations -- no venue can have more than 5 VGTs -- makes it harder to enforce a casino-like "no presence and no play" version of self-exclusion. But the Illinois Lottery offers a "no wins" version that is considerably easier to implement, even if it is far from foolproof: when a self-excluded player tries to collect a large win, the necessity to provide a social security number presents the enforceable moment. Why not something like that for VGTs, requiring identification, say, to collect wins of $100 or more?

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