Aristocrat Launches Video Gaming Market Operations in Illinois

Australian-based manufacturer of gaming machines Aristocrat Technologies announced last week it finally entered the video gaming terminal (VGTs) market in Illinois, deploying more than 300 machines across the state, with each machine offering a choice between 8 different games.

Also headquartered in Las Vegas, Aristocrat has been a supplier of slot machines for the state riverboat casino industry for years, and has developed a strong understanding of the gaming landscape in Illinois. The installed terminals provide games which were developed specifically to meet the regulation requirements for VGTs in the state.

Variety of Games Offered by Aristocrat’s VGTs                                       

The eight-game package provided by Aristocrat’s terminals are led by the company’s trademark title Buffalo and include Fast Frankie’s Roaring Jackpots, Flamin’ Jackpots, Prosperity Cats, Sizzling Phoenix, Sky Rider Golden Amulet, Sunset Tusk and Wild Lepre’Coins.

“We are excited to bring Aristocrat’s player-favourite games to the Illinois market. This is a testament to Aristocrat’s deliberate strategy of continued investment to grow our company and our reach as we explore markets adjacent to our Class III business.”

Kurt Gissane, Vice President of Sales for North America, Aristocrat

Aristocrat was just a day away from starting operations in Illinois by launching its first VGTs when the coronavirus struck and turned things upside down, as the state became the first in the US to shut down its gaming industry. Illinois is also one of the states that implements the most stringent set of rules regarding mitigation the risk of further transmission of the virus.

Despite the closure of the state’s 10 riverboat casinos and the video gaming market across Illinois, the company was not discouraged, Kurt Gissane explained. Instead, it took the extra time to build its gaming terminal strategy for a stronger launch.

Video Gaming in Illinois

The VGTs market in Illinois is one of the largest nationwide, featuring 7,137 locations across the state, locations ranging from bars, taverns and restaurants, to convenience stores, gas stations and truck stops, essentially any establishment holding a liquor license.

From the moment of its legalization in 2012, the video gaming market grew from $12.3 million in revenues to $1.67 billion in 2019, partly at the expense of the Illinois’ 19 casinos where revenues declined from $1.64 billion in 2012 to $1.35 billion last year.

In 2019, Illinois passed legislation to expand on gaming and allow each video gaming location to add one additional slot machine. Besides allowing the maximum of VGTs per location to go to 6, the bill allowed six new casinos, among which one in Chicago, several additional slot machines for the existing riverboats, and gaming operations capped at two VGTs for the state’s two airports, O’Hare and Midway.

In July 2020, the first month of operation for the terminals, Illinois VGTs generated $634.6 million in revenues, with more than $2 billion wagered by state gamblers.

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