Unregulated gaming devices that look and work almost exactly like video gaming terminals are popping up in places across the state. Unlike the video gaming terminals (“VGTs”) the state has regulated and taxed since 2012, so-called “sweepstakes machines” don’t pay similar taxes or fees to state or local government. Plus, the state does not conduct background checks of sweepstakes machine operators or the businesses that install them, like it requires for legal video gaming industry licenses.
The Illinois Gaming Board has maintained for years that “sweepstakes machines” are illegal,yet efforts to crack down on them have encountered legal roadblocks. The murky laws have allowed more and more businesses to offer the machines to their customers, officials said, even in some seemingly unlikely places.
The foggy legal status has led to competing legislation for and against allowing sweepstakes machines in Springfield. A state House panel in May narrowly rejected a bill that would have clearly legalized them. The issue is currently still in the spotlight in Springfield.
A number of communities are addressing the situation head on by adopting local legislation to ban these machines within their municipalities. If you are aware of such legislation barring the devices in your community, please let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org