Brand new to gaming, or just gaming in Illinois? You’re in the right place.

I. In the Know
II. Gaming
III. The Machines
IV. The Games
V. Features
VI. Strategy
VII. Payouts
VIII. Gaming Edicate
IX. Gaming & Taxes

In the Know

Although the first gaming machines in Illinois where activated October 09, 2012, gaming is still new to many people.

It’s understandable that you might have many questions and there are many misconceptions about gaming in general.

If you have question that has not been covered, please feel free to add your questions; or comment on a an existing question or answer.

An informed player, is a happier player.

Why do people like playing Video Slots and Video Poker?

Because it’s entertaining and fun. Oh yeah, it’s a lot of fun!

The games on these machines are designed for recreation and enjoyment, otherwise no one would play.

Plus the chances of winning a lot of money on a single spin, is not unappealing.

How do I find the best places to play?

My Hot Slots of course!

Discover who is in your area, how to get there, the total amount won, if they have any current specials, and even which place you will have the best odds of winning.

At Get More Game, you can also learn about how many machines a place has (1 – 5), the manufacture (Bally, IGT, WMS or Spielo), even the specific games they have (Bier Haus, Golden Goddess, Emerald Falls, etc), and much much more.

It’s all here at My Hot Slots!

What machine should I play?

You can find up to four brands of machines in Illinois Gaming establishments; Bally, IGT, WMS and/or Spielo.

There may be one or more of each type of machine, or there may only be one kind at any given location.

All machines in Illinois are loaded with Video Poker and/or Video Slot games.You may or may not find that not all machines made by the same manufacturer, have the exact same games loaded in each individual machine.

At different gaming locations, there may even be a different version of the same game on machines, made by the same manufacturer.

What type of game should I play?

There are two different types of games to play at Illinois Gaming Establishments, Video Slots or Video Poker.

When it comes to Video Slots, you won’t find the same slot game on machines made by different manufacturers.

Each individual manufacturer has a different collection of slot games which are unique to that specific manufacturer.

It’s different with poker. Some poker games can be found on more than one type of machine.

Although the game Joker Poker may be seen on Bally, IGT, or Spielo machines, it might not be on all of these type of machines, at every location.

Am I a Video Slot or Video Poker player?

It is very much up to the individual as to which type of game to play.With slots, after you choose which game to play and how much to wager, there are no more choices to be made.

When you hit the Spin Button, winning at Video Slots is completely a matter of luck.Video Poker includes an element of skill. The decisions that poker players make affect the outcome of the game.

You must depend on your skill and cunning as a poker player, along with the luck of the draw.

Although it is sometimes said that Video Slot or Video Poker players are of different temperaments, you might just enjoy both.

This could depend on how much you know about poker, and what type of mood you are in at a particular moment.

Which game should I play?

Check it out. Use the More Games Button to scroll through and see what games are on the machine.

You might like the looks of some games more than others.Each Video Slot game has a unique theme. It might be a German beer house, ancient Greece or Rome, or even vampires.

Themes topics can span from aliens to Americana.

For Video Poker, some brands of machines, like IGT, offer several different types poker games.

Each game has it’s own set of rules and regulations.

How do I choose the best game?

Learn as much as possible about the game you’re interested in. Every game has a different method of play.

Knowing the specific rules of the game is important.All games have a Menu, Help, or an Info button that can tell you about the different aspects and features of the game.

There is often information about the type of game, the features of the game, how much can be wagered, what each spin pays, jackpot details, and much more.

Check the Paytable. Here you will find a chart all of the winning combinations and payouts, the Paylines, Scatter Symbols and bonus information.

Look around and see what games others are playing. Strike up a conversation. Get someone else’s opinion.

Ask what games they like, and why they like them.

The more you know; the better chance you have of enjoying yourself, and the better your odds of winning.

Who knows, you might even leave with a pocketful of money. That would make almost anyone happy.

The Machines
What is a Video Gaming Terminal (VGT)?

A VGT is an electronic video gaming machine that is loaded with Video Slot and/or Video Poker games.

All Illinois VGTs are regulated by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

How do VGTs work?

When the terminal is turned on, a Random Number Generator (RNG) controlled by a computer, begins generating whole numbers.

When you press the Spin, the Deal, or Max Bet Button the machine saves a predetermined amount of whole numbers created by the RNG.

The quantity of whole numbers saved, is determined by what is required by a specific game.

The whole numbers are imputed into simple program called a macro. There the numbers are manipulated to produce an output.

The output determines where the reels will stop or what cards are dealt.

What is a Random Number Generator (RNG)?

A RNG is program within the computer of a VGT.

This program continuously generates whole numbers, between one and several billion, thousands of times each second.

The whole numbers, generated even before you come to the machine, are used to determine the outcome of each spin.

What are Reels and Reel Stops?

Only mechanical slot machines use actual physical reels. A reel is wheel with symbols printed on it, such as a 7, a cherry, a lemon, or a bell.

Each Reel Symbol represents a Reel Stop. When the handle on a mechanical slot machine is pulled, the Reels begin to spin.

When the Reels stop turning, a Reel Stop of each wheel comes to rest on the Payline.

A combination of Reel Symbols, posted on a Paytable, determines if you hit a jackpot.

The Reels on a VGT are graphical representations of the physical reels found on mechanical slot machines.

Unlike most mechanical slot machines, VGTs have several lines of Reel Stops which may fall on one or more Paylines.

What are Paylines?

Paylines, also called Winlines or just Lines are lines that run across Reel Stops.

They signify the lines that Reel Stops must fall on for you to win.

A Payline may run straight, or zigzag across Reel Stops.

They may be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or a combination of some or all types of lines.

A Payline chart shows how many Paylines there are, their shape, and just were Reel Stops must fall for a jackpot.

Some Video Slot games allow players to pick the number of Paylines that they can place wagers on. Others have a fixed number of Paylines.

Paylines always run from left to right. The range of wagers for a Payline varies from game to game.

Bier Haus Winlines

Bier Haus Winlines

What is a Paytable?

A Paytable is a chart or a series charts, that explain the symbols needed for a win, and how much you will receive for each win.

Along with these winning combinations and payouts, the Paylines, Scatter Symbols and bonus information may also be found in the Paytable.

All games have a Menu, Help, or an Info button that can get you to a Paytable, and tell you about the different aspects and features of the game.

The Games
What are the Bally Illinois Slot Games?

2016 Bally Slots in Illinois:

777 Blazing Slots
777 Double Jack Pot
American Original
Emerald Falls
Mega Winner – Mega Spins
Playboy Hot Zone
Shadow Diamond
Thunder Horn

What are the Bally Illinois Poker Game?

2016 Bally Poker in Illinois:

Bonus Deuces Wild Poker
Bonus Poker
Deuces Wild Poker
Double Bonus Poker
Double Double Bonus Poker
Joker Poker
Pick’em Poker

What are the IGT Illinois Slot Games?

2016 IGT Slots in Illinois:

7s Wild
Black Widow
Candy Bars
Dangerous Beauty
Fire Horse
Fire Opals
Golden Goddess
Kitty Glitter
Lotus Flower
Secrets of the Forest
Shadow of the Panther
Siberian Storm
Stinkin’ Rich
Thundering Buffalo
Wild Wolf
Wolf Run

What are the IGT Illinois Poker Games?

2016 IGT Poker in Illinois:

Bonus Poker
Bonus Poker – Wheel of Gold
Bonus Poker Deluxe
Bonus Poker Deluxe – Wheel of Gold
Deuces Wild
Deuces Wild – Wheel of Gold
Deuces Wild Bonus Poker
Deuces Wild Bonus Poker – Wheel of Gold
Double Bonus Poker
Double Bonus Poker – Wheel of Gold
Double Double Bonus Poker
Double Double Bonus Poker – Wheel of Gold
Double Joker
Jacks or Better
Jacks or Better – Wheel of Gold
Joker Poker
Super Double Bonus Poker
Super Double Bonus Poker – Wheel of Gold
Super Double Double Bonus Poker
Triple Double Bonus Poker
Triple Double Bonus Poker – Wheel of Gold

What are the Spielo Illinois Slot Games?

2016 Spielo Slots in Illinois:

Abe’s Lucky 8 Lines
Big City 5’s
Cherry Chests
Egyptian Quest
Frost & Fire Sevens
Quick Pay Jackpots
Royal Spins
Smash The Pig
The Big Easy
The Wild Life
Treasures of Olympus
Vegas Classic
Wild Wranglers

What are the Spielo Illinois Poker Games?

2016 Spielo Poker in Illinois:

Jacks or Better
Joker Poker

What are the WMS Illinois Slot Games?

2016 WMS Slots in Illinois:

Bier Haus
Count Money
Diamonds Dublin
Jade Palace
Planet Moon
Triple Golden Cherries

What are the WMS Illinois Poker Games?

2016 WMS Poker in Illinois:

Deuces Wild Poker

What is a Bonus?

Most Video Slot and some Video Poker games offer some kind of Bonus.

It’s all up to your luck. You have to hit a Bonus Symbol, or some other combinations of symbols, to trigger a Bonus.

A bonus can be as simple as free spins or wild cards, or it could be a complete small game with storylines and plots of it’s own.

To unlock bonuses on some Video Slot and Video Poker games, you have to wager the maximum credits per spin allowed.

What is a Free Spin?

Free Spins on a Video Slot or Video Poker games are triggered by hitting some type of bonus.

Although it doesn’t cost anything extra for a free spin, the credits from these bonuses can add up to large jackpots.

What is the Bet Max Button?

Using the Bet Max Button automatically sets your wager to the maximum allowed for that particular game, be it a Video Slot or Video Poker game.

Take the very popular Bier Haus game by WMS for example.

You have the option of wagering 40, 80, 120, 160 or 200 credits. 200 credits, or $2 is the maximum wager.

Bier Haus has 40 paylines. A $2 wager/40 paylines=5 cents per line.

So, using the Bet Max Button wagers 5 cents per line. The highest payout for the $2 wager on this game is $500.

Should I always use the Bet Max Button?

On some games, if you don’t bet the maximum amount, you’re not eligible for the highest payout.

You also may not be able to get bonuses or free spins.

On these games the smaller jackpot amounts may or may not be proportional to the amount wagered.

So make sure that you understand the paylines, payouts, bonuses, and the jackpot requirements before you play.

If you’re rewarded for wagering the maximum amount, then yes; you should always use the Bet Max Button.

But remember, you should always play within your gaming bankroll.

What is a Scatter Symbol?

The Scatter Symbol is used as a way to unlock rewards such as free spins, mini-games, or other bonus features in Video Slot games.

Scatter Symbols can appear anywhere on the reels of a game. They don’t have to fall on any specific payline for you to win.

An actual Scatter Symbol, is an image which is specific to a particular game. The graphic symbol used differs from game to game.

Scatter Symbols are often one of the highest paying features of a game.

The number of symbols needed for a win can differ from game to game, but the general idea remains the same.

How does a Scatter Symbol work?

To unlock the features of a Scatter Symbol, a predefined number of symbols must appear within a single spin.

The number of symbols required to win, and the rewards of a Scatter Symbol, free spins, mini-games, or other bonuses, are different for each game.

Check the game’s paytable information to determine what is required.

How do you know when machine is Hot?

The simple answer is – you don’t. There is no such thing as a hot or cold machine. This is the Gambler’s Fallacy.

There is no pattern to jackpots. There can’t be. VGTs use Random Number Generators (RNGs).

No matter how many times a game hits or doesn’t hit a jackpot, the results of the next spin is always random.

Just like a toss of a coin. You can’t expect to determine the result no matter how many times it comes up head, or tails.

There is no such thing as a game or machine being due to hit.

VGTs don’t payout at any specific time. There’s no timer that governs jackpots.

VGTs don’t have a payout cycle. No matter what came before, the results of your next spin are always random. Slots don’t get hot or cold.

What is the Gambler's Fallacy?

The gambler’s fallacy, is the mistaken belief that, if something happens more frequently than normal during some period, it will happen less frequently in the future.

Or that, if something happens less frequently than normal during some period, it will happen more frequently in the future (presumably as a means of balancing nature).

In situations where what is being observed is truly random (i.e., independent trials of a random process), this belief, though appealing to the human mind, is false.

This fallacy can arise in many practical situations although it is most strongly associated with gambling where such mistakes are common among players.

Gambler’s fallacy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler’s_fallacy Wikipedia

How do I find the Hot Machines?

VGT Machines don’t run hot or cold. The odds for individual machines do not change without prior approval from the IGB.

You can however, find the Gaming Establishments in Illinois that have the highest percentage of return.

Each Gaming Establishment listing at My Hot Slots has a field called Winners, with a payout percentage amount (Winners: 97%).

This is the percentage of money returned to players.

Winners = Amount Won/Amount Played

You can Search for Gaming Establishments’ Winners’ Ratio, to find the places with the highest return rate in your area; or anywhere in Illinois.

What is the best time of the day to play?

When you are relaxed and ready to have fun.

The payout percentages for VGTs are always the same, regardless of the time of the day.

What determines if a machine will hit?


All Illinois VGTs use Random Number Generators (RNGs). Each machine has a computer that randomly selects numbers.

The numbers are in turn, associated with symbols for Video Slot games, or cards for Video Poker.

The numbers are chosen before you hit spin or draw cards.

There is no possible way to determine what the RNG has chosen, so there is no way to know when the game will hit a jackpot.

How do I improve my chances of winning?

You can choose which type of game to play, Video Slots or Video Poker.

You can also choose which particular slot or poker games to play. Most types of games offer better odds than others.

You can also choose the way you play.

The Strategy page at My Hot Slots has many methods to help you have more fun, and hopefully come home with more cash.

Do the odds on games change?

Not unless the change has been sanctioned by the IGB

I Won! Great! Where's My Money?

Ok. Hit the Cashout Button on the VGT and it will print a Cashout Voucher for you.

Now, take the Voucher to the Payout System Kiosk, or the cashier. That’s it.

What is a Cashout Voucher?

A Cashout Voucher is a piece of paper printed by the VGT.

It includes the date and time, the Corporate Name of the Gaming Establishment, the amount you won, a validation code, a Voucher number, an Asset Number, and a barcode.

Don’t lose your Cashout Voucher. It is the only claim you have to your winnings. You won’t be able to get your money without it.

Do I have to cash out my voucher right now?

Not if you don’t want to. Your Cashout Voucher is good at the Gaming Establishment the voucher was printed, for 365 days.

You may have pressing business and don’t have time to cash your voucher, or you may want to save it as part of your next Gaming Bankroll.

You can always come back later, but don’t wait too long.

If the place you received your voucher closes or is bought by another company, you won’t be able to cash the voucher.

What is a Payout System Kiosk?

A Payout System Kiosk is a machine that dispenses cash for your Cashout Voucher.

Slide your Cashout Voucher face up under the bar code reader (you will see a red light), and the machine will dispense your cash.

A Payout System Kiosk may look like an ATM, and also act as an ATM; but doesn’t have the limits of an ATM.

You can cash out your voucher at a Payout System Kiosk or with a cashier, but not at a regular ATM.

What if I have a large payout, will I get all of my money?

Of course. Don’t worry you will get your cash, even if it’s a good amount of money. Players always get their winnings.

All Gaming Establishment have payout systems and people that can help you cash out.

What is the maximum amount a Payout System Kiosk will dispense?

A Payout System Kiosk may have ATM features, but when it comes to payouts, it doesn’t have the limitation of an ATM.

The amount of cash dispensed at a Payout System Kiosk is limited to the amount of cash in the machine, and limits set by the owner of the system, the Terminal Operator.

If you’re requesting funds from your bank account at an ATM, or a Payout System Kiosk, those limits are set by your bank.

Gaming Edicate
How do I reserve a machine?

Use the Reserve Sign. There will mostly be one near the machine.

Don’t put money in a machine to reserve it. Someone may play your money.

What happens if the power goes out?

Don’t panic. First, reserve your machine and let the attendant know that the power is off. There are at least two possible scenarios.

1. The power comes back on and the machine starts up by itself.

Great! A Cashout Voucher will be printed after the machine reboots.

It will have all the funds that were left on the machine at the time the power went out.

2. You have to leave before the machine comes back on.

Ok. If you simply want to make sure you get the money left in the machine, give your name and phone number to the attendant.

The attendant can contact you and hold your Cashout Voucher until you return to cash out.

If you want to get back on the same machine when you return, reserve your machine and give your name and phone number to the attendant.

When the machine starts back up the attendant can text or call you.

If you can come back within ten minutes, the attendant should let you resume playing the machine when you return.

What if the power goes during Bonus Play?

A Cashout Voucher will be printed after the machine reboots.

It will have all the funds that were left on the machine at the time the power went out.

Now, simply put some money in the machine and it will return to your game in the Bonus Play, exactly where you left off.

What happens if the machine crashes?

‘Malfunction voids all play and all pays.’

This ubiquitous statement is on every game, on every machine, in every gaming location in Illinois.

VGTs are machines. All machines are subject to malfunctions. Sooner or later it will probably happen to you.

When a VGT malfunctions occurs, the game you were playing is voided (its over). You will not receive any credits for that game.

So, now what? Suck it up and move to the next spin or poker hand. It’s all part of the experience.

The game says I won, so why do I have less money?

Don’t worry. Look closely at how much you have won at each spin.

You may have won the spin in Video Slots, or the hand in Video Poker, but won less than the amount you bet, so you have fewer credits or less money.

Be careful. The game says you’re a winner, but in this case you’re not.

You may think your winning while your gaming bankroll is actually getting smaller.

What You Actually Won this Spin=Win-Wager

Gaming & Taxes
Is Gambling Income Taxable?

Gambling income is almost always taxable income. This includes cash and the fair market value of any item you win.

By law, gambling winners must report all of their winnings on their federal income tax returns.

Depending on the amount of your winnings, you may receive one or more Forms W-2G, which reports the amount of your winnings, as well as the amount of tax that was withheld, if any.

You will need these forms to prepare your tax return.

Remember that, even if you do not get a W-2G, you must report all gambling winnings.


How Much Tax Do I Pay on Gambling Winnings?

Your gambling winnings are generally subject to a flat 25% tax.

However, for the following sources listed below, gambling winnings over $5,000 are subject to income tax withholding:

Any sweepstakes, wagering pool (including payments made to winners of poker tournaments), or lottery.

Any other wager (if the proceeds are at least 300 times the amount of the bet).

If you win a non-cash prize, such as a car or a trip, you will be responsible for paying taxes on the fair market value of each prize.


Is Tax Withheld from My Gambling Winnings?

Depending upon the amount of your winnings and the type of gambling, the establishment or payer may be required to withhold income taxes.

In general, 25% of the amount is required to be withheld.

In some cases, a “backup” withholding of 28% is required instead.

If tax is withheld from your gambling winnings, you will be sent a Form W2-G from the payer.


Can I Deduct My Gambling Losses?

You may deduct gambling losses if you itemize your deductions. You can deduct your losses only up to the amount of your total gambling winnings.

You must generally report your winnings and losses separately, rather than reporting a net amount.

Gambling losses are deducted on Schedule A as a miscellaneous deduction and are not subject to a 2% limit.

This means that you can deduct all losses up to the amount of your winnings, not just the amount over 2% of your adjusted gross income.


What is the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB)?

The Illinois Gaming Board is a five-member board, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

The Board administers a regulatory and tax collection system for riverboat casino gambling and video gaming in Illinois.

The Board assures the integrity of riverboat gambling and video gaming through regulatory oversight of casino and video gaming operations; the licensing of suppliers to casinos and employees of casinos; and the licensing of video gaming manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, terminal operators, locations and individuals who service the VGTs.


Can anyone play Video Slots or Video Poker in Illinois?

No. As per the The Video Gaming Act (230 ILCS 40) Sec. 40.

Video gaming terminal use by minors prohibited. No licensee shall cause or permit any person under the age of 21 years to use or play a video gaming terminal.

(Source: P.A. 96-34, eff. 7-13-09.)

How many VGTs can a Gaming Establishment have?

The Video Gaming Act was enacted in July 2009, authorizing the placement of up to five Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs) in licensed Retail Establishments, Truck Stops, Veteran and Fraternal Establishments.

The VGTs are all connected to and monitored by a Central Communications System.

Source: Illinois Gaming Board (IGB)

Are VGTs allowed anywhere inside a Licensed Video Gaming Location?

VGTs must be located in an area restricted to persons 21 years of age and over, the entrance to which is within the view of at least one employee who is over 21 years of age.

The placement of VGTs in Licensed Video Gaming Locations is subject to Rule 810.

For all Locations that admit individuals under the age of 21, a physical barrier to the gaming area, including but not limited to a short partition, gate or rope is required.

No barrier shall visually obscure the entrance to the gaming area from an employee of the Location who is over the age of 21.

May the entrance to the VGT area in a Licensed Video Gaming Location be monitored via closed circuit television?

The entrance to the VGT area of a Location must be within the view of at least one employee who is over 21 years of age.

While a Location may utilize closed circuit television to monitor the entrance to the area in addition to an employee, it may not utilize closed circuit television in lieu of an employee.

Are there limits on the hours of operation of a VGT?

Yes. Pursuant to Sections 35(b)(2) and 55 of the Act, hours of operation of a VGT must coincide with the legal hours of operation for the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises.

However, a Licensed Truck Stop Establishment that does not hold a liquor license may operate VGTs on a continuous basis.