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Illinois Expands And Lengthens VLT Testing; Operators Blamed For Slow Rollout

Posted On: 9/25/2012

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TAGS: Illinois VLT test, video lottery terminals, Illinois VLT operator, Illinois Gaming Board, Mark Ostrowski, video poker, bar gambling, video lottery system

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The Illinois Gaming Board, which originally said it would conduct a two-week, five-location test of the new video lottery system before launching VLTs statewide, has expanded the test to additional jurisdictions and is hedging on the launch date.

According to local press reports, there are now seven jurisdictions in which VLTs are being tested: Hoffman Estates, Port Barrington, Morton Grove, Rockford, Machesney Park, St. Anne and Strasburg.

In addition, IGB officials said on Sept. 20 that the entire system will not go live for "two or three weeks."

Alternatively, officials said, VLTs may not launch statewide until IGB and Scientific Games are confident the system is ready for statewide operation. Scientific Games is the creator and administrator of the central computer system for VLTs in Illinois.

IGB's Mark Ostrowski said when VLTs go live statewide, it will be a slow rollout because operators "have not coordinated" with manufacturers and distributors to submit the proper paperwork to the state.

Ostrowski said just 33% of operators who applied for VLT licenses have supplied the required financial data to the IGB, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Another IGB official, Gene O'Shea, said operators have been "slow to get the financing" to purchase VLTs.

As of Sept. 20, VLT licenses have been issued to 324 bars and restaurants, 12 truck stops, four veterans' clubs and one fraternal organization -- but only 50 of these venues have had lottery terminals installed, said IGB officials.