Illinois has one of the most robust video gaming terminal (VGT) industries in the nation, which poses somewhat of a novel problem. However, a proposed solution is the Illinois video gaming voucher system.
If the rule becomes permanent, VGT players in the Prairie State would receive vouchers they can mail to request their VGT winnings instead of receiving cash. It’s the latest adjustment to the gambling industry in Illinois due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Board opens door for Illinois video gaming voucher plan
Late last month, the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) issued an emergency amendment to its VGT regulations.
IGB cited the new rule in response to the ongoing national coin shortage. While the use of coins was already diminishing, the pandemic compounds the shortfall in available currency.
The new rules allow VGT licensees to ask the IGB for the OK to issue checks to winners instead of cash. The emergency rule is in place for at least 150 days from July 26 or when a permanent rule replaces it, whichever comes first.
For VGT players in Illinois, there are some important things to note. There are reasons why this could become a permanent change in the system.
What Illinois VGT players need to know about vouchers
First off, the VGT voucher system could be temporary.
Additionally, the rule gives the IGB discretion to deny VGT licensees’ voucher requests based on the board’s appraisal of the coin situation in various parts of the state.
Even with permission, Illinois VGT operators have the option to issue winnings in cash, even if partially. This rule would merely give operators the option to grant a player a voucher instead. The vouchers themselves could differ from one licensee to the other somewhat.
However, the rules require operators to keep logs of the exact amount of the vouchers and to whom. The operator must provide clear instructions on how to redeem the voucher or where to mail it. While VGT players will have to pay for the postage upfront, the regulations require the licensee to reimburse the player for that cost in the winnings.
At last, VGT players get a check in the mail for their winnings. They can do whatever they like with it, although obviously, just cashing it wouldn’t help with the coin shortage situation that much.
For the businesses that offer VGTs, this might be a system they come to appreciate, though.
VGT voucher system could be permanent
It’s too early to tell how often Illinois licensees will use the new system and whether it will be popular among VGT players and businesses.
Some players prefer gambling on VGTs because of the access to cash, for instance. Businesses could enjoy the advantage of fewer trips to the bank for change.
Additionally, the increased records-keeping could lend itself toward more data about customer demographics for the licensees. As a result, the state could provide more targeted resources to those who need help with compulsive gambling.
Furthermore, it could deliver more sales to local post offices. Finally, as Generation Z consumers prefer cashless systems, this could update to the Illinois VGT industry.
If that happens, the shift will have all come about due to a coin shortage that was one result of a viral pandemic. Like increased sanitation, this might be one change that’s for the better.