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Learning how to win at slots is no easy task. Online slot machines are renowned for being completely random, so no amount of skill will give you the edge when it comes to these enticing casino games.

Introduction to Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2021

Illinois slot machine casino gambling consists of ten riverboat casinos and two proposed commercial casinos as well as video gaming terminals (VLTs) in small businesses approved by their local municipalities.

I’ve dedicated this weekly series to slot enthusiasts such as yourself as you master casino slots and win your way to success by using this State-By-State Online Resource to improve your slots gambling performance by reviewing your state’s slots gaming industry.

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Relevant Legal Statutes on Gambling in Illinois

The minimum legal gambling age in Illinois depends upon the gambling activity:

  • Land-Based Casinos: 21
  • Poker Rooms: 21
  • Bingo: 18
  • Lottery: 18
  • Pari-Mutuel Wagering: 18

The Illinois Riverboat Gambling Act enacted in February 1990 legalized riverboat gambling on open water outside of Cook County. This restriction protected wagering on horse racing in the Chicago area, approved in 1927.

Since 1990, Illinois has offered only ten gaming licenses for riverboat casinos. Originally, riverboat casinos in Illinois had to cruise, but a new state law in 1999 allowed permanent docking and authorized them to have 1,200 gaming machines including positions available at table games.

In 2005, the Illinois state legislature established an admissions tax of $2 or $3. Admission is $2 at Jumer’s Casino Rock Island and $3 at other riverboat casinos. Illinois riverboat casinos also has restricted hours of operation, closing for two hours each day, usually around 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

In 2009, the Illinois state legislature passed the Video Gaming Act, allowing video gaming terminals in “Licensed Retail Establishments, Truck Stops, Veteran and Fraternal Establishments” with approval by their local municipalities. There are 7,710 such licensed establishments.

On June 28, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Gambling Act into law, making significant changes to gaming regulations in Illinois. These changes include two proposed casinos, the Hard Rock Casino Rockford and Southland Live Casino in Calumet City. Once approved, these proposed casinos will be the two largest casinos in Illinois.

The Illinois Gaming Board hosts a website with extensive and thoroughly detailed descriptions of its state gambling laws for Casino Gambling and Video Gaming.

Slot Machine Private Ownership in Illinois

In Illinois, it is legal to own a slot machine privately if manufactured 25 or more years ago.

Gaming Control Board in Illinois

The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) provides gaming regulations and tax collection for slot machine gambling activities in Illinois. It also has gaming control commissions for other forms of gambling including the Illinois Lottery and the Illinois Racing Board.

Further, the Illinois Casino Gaming Association (ICGA) represents nine of Illinois’ ten riverboat casinos. The ICGA provides statistics on charitable giving by the riverboat casinos as well as supporting responsible gaming.

Casinos in Illinois

Illinois has twelve commercial casinos, two of which are recently proposed casinos not yet under construction.

The largest casino in Illinois is Hollywood Casino Joliet with 1,177 gaming machines.

The second-largest casino is Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino with 1,172 gaming machines.

Commercial Casinos in Illinois

The twelve commercial casinos in Illinois are:

  1. Argosy Casino Alton, 158 miles south of Peoria and across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
  2. Casino Queen in East St. Louis, 165 miles south of Peoria and across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.
  3. Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, 42 miles west of downtown Chicago.
  4. Hard Rock Casino Rockford, 89 miles northwest of downtown Chicago – proposed casino.
  5. Harrah’s Joliet, 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
  6. Harrah’s Metropolis in the southernmost tip of Illinois or 167 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.
  7. Hollywood Casino Aurora, 42 miles west of downtown Chicago.
  8. Hollywood Casino Joliet, 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
  9. Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island, 101 miles northwest of Peoria on the Mississippi River border to Iowa.
  10. Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria, 3 miles northwest of Peoria.
  11. Rivers Casino Des Plaines, 20 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.
  12. Southland Live Casino in Calumet City, 30 miles south of downtown Chicago – proposed casino.

In February 2021, 7,710 retail locations in Illinois offered 37,159 active video lottery terminal gaming machines controlled by the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB). Given Illinois’ ten riverboat casinos each have 1,200 slot machines at most, VLTs at local businesses equate to nearly 31 casinos of a similar size.

Tribal Casinos in Illinois

Illinois has no federally recognized American Indian tribes. Therefore, there are no tribal casinos in Illinois.

Other Gambling Establishments

As an alternative to enjoying Illinois slot machine casino gambling, consider exploring casino options in a nearby state. Bordering Illinois is:

  • North: Wisconsin Slots
  • East: Indiana Slots
  • South: Kentucky Slots
  • West: Iowa Slots and Missouri Slots

Each of the links above will take you to my blog for that neighboring U.S. state to Illinois.

Our Illinois Slots Facebook Community

Are you interested in sharing and learning with other slots enthusiasts in Illinois? If so, join our Illinois slots community on Facebook. All you’ll need is a Facebook profile to freely join this closed Facebook Group community.

There, you can meet online and privately share your slots experiences with local slots enthusiasts about playing slot machines in Illinois. Join us!

Payouts and Returns in Illinois

Illinois has established theoretical payout limits of 80% and 100% over the lifetime of a slot machine. Further, the IGB provides monthly return statistics for Video Gaming.

In the month of November 2020, the statewide average player win percentage was 91.8% for all VLTs. The Video Gaming Review Reports search tool under Monthly Reports allows anyone to find the player win percentage (i.e., amount won divided by amount played) for each of the licensed 7,000+ retailers offering video gaming.

Summary of Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling in 2021

Illinois slot machine casino gambling consists of ten commercial casinos, two proposed casinos, and VLT electronic gaming machines at 7,710 local businesses such as bars, restaurants, and other licensed non-casino locations.

Annual Progress in Illinois Slot Machine Casino Gambling

In the last year, Argosy’s Alton Belle Casino changed its name to Argosy Casino Alton. Further, Rivers Casino will no longer be a riverboat casino per a 2019 ruling by the Illinois Gaming Board.

Other States from Professor Slots

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  • Next: Indiana Slot Machine Casino Gambling

Have fun, be safe, and make good choices!
By Jon H. Friedl, Jr. Ph.D., President
Jon Friedl, LLC

Slots are some of the easiest and most enjoyable entertainment products a casino offers. Yet, underneath this simplicity, there are some complicated mechanics that make casino slots tick, and this is precisely what we are going to look at today.

We will explain how to play slot machines but, far more importantly, how to win at slots once you have figured out their mechanism. The good news is slot machines have evolved over two centuries, and they are polished to squeaky perfection today.

Even better, innovation is the main modus operandi of every software studio these days, and new features and mechanics continue totrickle into the slot machines we play every day. The question is how to win. But first, let’s take a look under the hood.

Slot Mechanics: A Brief Explanation

To understand how slot machines work, you need to look at the core build of a game. Today, you don’t have to visit casino floors to access thousands of video slots, test their gameplay, and study their paytables.

Quite the opposite, as you are allowed to browse through online slots at your leisure and get a little more familiar with their gameplay, inherent payback percentage, volatility, bonus rounds, and other distinct features.

While slots do have a healthy bit of overlap, learning how to win at slots isn’t at all difficult when you understand the underpinning mechanics. Admittedly, your chance to win will always depend on luck rather than skill, but having a clear view of what makes online slots unique gives slot players an edge. Here is what to look out for when playing slots.

Defining Chances of Winning

Each slot is bound by what it calls a Random Number Generator (RNG). This is a private algorithm that developers use and protect to determine each game’s randomized outcome. This outcome is fair, free from interference, and unbiased.

The RNG establishes a baseline, known as a seed number, around which all other combinations are created. Based on this information, the company provides you with an expected return and the amount of money you are looking to win back.

Volatility and Frequency

How to win casino

Another important metric to factor in the long-term is volatility, also known as the payout frequency. Volatility tells you how often you can expect a win to occur on the reels, and there are typically three types, low, medium, and high.

Low volatility stands for frequent payouts, whereas high volatility means you can expect to win at slots less often. There is one essential difference, however. Low-volatility games award much smaller amounts, whereas the higher the volatility is, the juiciest the payout.

The trade-off is self-explanatory. You can stick around and try to play slot machines with low volatility, accumulating small wins as you go along. Conversely, you can pick a high-volatility game where the payout will come less often but will be more significant.

Slot Symbols and Features

So, before you play slot machines, it may help familiarize yourself with the symbols and paytables of each game. The paytable is a representation of all possible combinations that lead to wins.

You do not necessarily have to remember the paying combinations for each game, but you can just reference the table and see if you are happy with what you see. Once this is out of the way, it’s time to look at the symbols. In general, there are several types of symbols you ought to look out for:

  • Low-paying symbols: These symbols are usually displayed as numbers (9, 10) and card values (J, Q, K, A).
  • High-paying symbols: High-paying symbols take on each game’s unique theme and are designed to contribute to the ambiance.
  • Scatter symbols: The scatter symbol triggers special features such as free spins and even the bonus level.
  • Wild symbols: The wild symbol is there to substitute for any other symbol, except for the scatter and bonus symbol, and help you finish a payline.
  • Bonus symbols: As online slots have become quite sophisticated, developers have begun introducing dedicated bonus symbols to trigger special levels.

These symbols hardly exhaust all there is to know about slots these days. Slot machine features include multipliers, free spins, and megaways payouts, where you enjoy a game with over 100,000 paylines, for example.

Every slot machine is unique, and it provides its combination of features, symbols, and unique mechanisms. Yet, the core engine that defines the payouts, the random number in the seed, is always there.

Trusted online casinos make sure to offer slot machines that are fair and come with all the bells and whistles for a happy game time.

How to Play Slot Machines

So, you are ready to get started. Slot machines are proverbially easy to get into. All you need to do is pick a game, place a wager, and spin reels, and just like that, you are playing slot games.

The question is: is there anything else you need to know before you jumpinto play? Not necessarily. To start, just follow the sequence:

  1. Choose an online casino you are happy with
  2. Find a slot game that matches your preferences
  3. Place a bet that meets the slot betting limits
  4. Press the spin button and see the outcome

However, before they play, many players prefer to find a thing or two about the games. For example, players ask what the payout is and study the volatility and other features.

These are typical slot ablutions that you may make unless you are familiar with the game and certain you want to play just that. When you start playing, you will see many other quality-of-life improvements when it comes to your gameplay.

For instance, betting $0.10 per spin is affordable, but you need to consider that pressing spin after every outcome can be a little tiresome.

That is why you will find that more than online slot machine out there offers an Auto Spin feature where you can load up to 50, 100, or even more free spins. When you play for the first time, you may notice that the paylines are also adjustable in some slot games.

You can choose to play with fewer paylines and change the minimum and maximum betting limits, making the slot experience more accessible. This pretty much sums up how to play slots. All that is left is to try it yourself.

How to Pick Slot Machines?

To pick online slots, all you need to do is find a casino you can trust. Once you do, the rest is easy, even if there are a few things to consider. Slots are usually rather easy to browse through, but the sheer variety of games available can often put even the best player off their game.

Therefore, we suggest using some of theavailable filters to narrowdown your search. Here are several selection criteria you can consider:

  • Theme
  • Volatility
  • RTP
  • Type
  • Features

Each of the above plays an important role in picking your next slot machine. Some players would much rather play thematic games than have a higher RTP. Others have one specific type they prefer, whether this is a video slot, jackpot slot, or something else.

The features can also play a big part in your final choice, as some games are inherently more feature-heavy, and this is precisely what players love to see in a game.

Titles such as NetEnt’s Jumanji and Finn and the Swirly Spin, Microgaming’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider, and others come packing numerous great options.

How to Win at Slots

Of course, the most important part of playing a slot machine is winning. To achieve that, you need to be familiar with some common tactics used by professional gamblers and recreational players.

So, how do you win at slot machines? It’s a process that heavily involves chance, but you can still minimize some of the risks by heeding the advice of players who have walked the same path as you are now.

Here are 13 slot tips that will help you win. If not your next spin, then at least walk out from your session a little better off than you would have to play without a strategy. We factor in the mathematical edge.

For your convenience, we have split the section into Do’s and Don’ts so that you know what to act on and what to approach with caution.

The Do’s of Slot Gameplay

These are the Do’s that every slot player should probably consider when visiting online casinos. These tips are designed to advise you on the smartest strategy about slots and how you can get there yourself.

Slot Tip 1: Play with what You Can Afford to Lose

The first piece of advice we have with you is probably one of the best you will hear. You should always play with what you can afford to lose. Because of their high involvement of chance, slots are unpredictable.

By allocating money that you are using recreationally, you won’t smart after your losses, and better still, you would be able to fully appreciate the thrill of the gameplay.

Slot Tip 2: Stick with Slot Machines with the Best Payouts

When picking a slot, players consider all sorts of things. They look at the theme, type of game, and especially the available features. Yet, one thing you should start with is the RTP or theoretical return.

We recommend sticking with the games that offer the best returns, as this way, you would be able to extend your gaming sessions and possibly enjoy better overall wins.

Slot Tip 3: Make Sure to Stay within Your Budget

Slot gameplay can quickly become riveting, and as you are mesmerizing by the reels, you may begin to spend a pretty penny. The best way to control your hobby is to set a budget that allows you to get a healthy session out without going overboard with your finances.

Many excellent slots allow you to bet at just a fraction of your budget: usually only $0.01 per payline. This means you never have to purposefully seek to bet a lot on your gaming sessions.

Slot Tip 4: Choose Games That Meet Your Expectations

It’s important to be happy with your choice as this will stay your hand and allow you to fully appreciate the slot machine you have chosen. Therefore, make sure to know why you pick a specific game over another.

Is it the theme or the promise of a big RTP? Do you enjoy the progressive jackpot mechanic lurking around the corner or have always been a stickler for the megaways paylines? It all comes down to what you truly enjoy.

Slot Tip 5: Play with Small Amounts at First

There is no need to chase big bets, even if you are a high roller. Start small and work your way upwards. Test the waters and see how a slot is treating you. Are you having an off-day, or are the odds stacking up in your favor?

All more advanced players prefer to spend a small amount first to get a feel of the game, even if they are familiar with it. Should you turn out to be luckier than the house edge suggests, you can prime the pump.

Slot Tip 6: Don’t Overlook the Demos

Do you want to know all there is about a game and not lose any money? There is an easy and proven way to do just that. The Demo or Play for Funversions of slots is worth your while.

They will allow you to experience realistic payouts and test any strategy in a real gaming environment. You never have to spend your money, but the lessons learned will stick with you during your real money gameplay.

Slot Tip 7: Check out Specific Payout Conditions

You can get a good feel and sense of what to expect by studying the payout conditions. For example, triggering a jackpot may require you to stake the maximum bet amount.

This is not necessarily always the case, but the paytables will usually make sure to note down any such specific conditions to keep an eye out for. Having familiarity with these will help you bring your best game.

Slot Tip 8: Consider a Slot Bonus

Youtube casino slot wins

Slots are extremely popular, and as such, they are often the subject of numerous bonuses. The best part about these bonuses is that slots contribute 100% towards the wagering requirements making the best casino games to play through a bonus with.

The Don’ts of Slot Gameplay

Naturally, there are some strategies and decisions you should avoid. Players often get tempted and fall into some bad habits that can quickly result in a negative outcome, and worse – an unsatisfactory session.

While players are perfectly aware that the casino always has a strong mathematical edge over them, there is no reason to play in a less than optimal way. Here are a few such bad habits and your chance to amend them if you recognize yourself in them.

Slot Tip 9: Don’t Chase Your Losses

One of the worst things you could do playing slots is to try and catch up to your losses. Sometimes, you will just have a bad beat, and you ought to accept that. It’s the easiest way to get the maximum value out of your gaming session.

The first time you start losing a considerable amount, it can be a little hard to swallow. Don’t worry, though. There are bad, but then again, there are good beats as well. Just make sure to wait until your luck turns.


Slot Tip: 10: Don’t Play If You Are Tired

Unwinding with a hobby is the best way to enjoy your after-work hours or free time, there’s that. However, you ought to remind yourself that slot gaming can be quite enthralling. You do not want to end up in a situation where you are playing without getting any thrill out of the game.

Many casinos invite you to play during the wee hours of the day, but this is because statistically, you are more inclined to play more during the night as you are tired and don’t put as much thought into your decision-making.

Slot Tip 11: Don’t Mix Drinking with Gambling

Never play slots if you have been drinking too much. Gambling and alcohol do not mix well, as alcoholic beverages tend to lower your inhibitions, prompting you to make bigger and less worthwhile wagers.

Have you ever wondered why casinos offer so many complimentary drinks? Well, here is your answer. Even if you are at home and playing online slots, though, you are better off avoiding drinking when playing slots.

Slot Tip 12: Don’t Try to Cheat the Casino

This should go without saying, but trying to cheat the casino is not a smart policy. Casinos are quite sophisticated, and thinking that you can one-up the house is both dangerous as it’s futile. In the past, a slot machine could be cracked and machine odds pinned down.

However, these days, the games are too advanced, making it impossible for even the best game savants to gain an unfair edge. The best way to try and have a more rewarding session is to stick with other Do’s.

Slot Tip 13: Don’t Trust Superstitions

Many slot players are incredibly superstitious. For one reason or another, they believe that by adopting some small game rituals, they can actually influence their luck. This is purely done for one’s own peace of mind, and no, no horseshoes, clovers, or rabbit paws would help you appease Lady Fortune.

It’s all purely coincidental, and your chances to win when you play slots are based on the inherent Random Number Generator (RNG) each game runs on. Therefore, you can still have your own small ritual before gambling, but it’s not very likely to change the outcome of the games for you!

How Do You Know When a Slot Machine Is Going to Hit?

When you learn how to play slots, you probably wonder if there are some specific tricks to beating the machines. Well, as it turns out, you can apply some pieces of knowledge that will help you win more often. However, there are some pieces of advice that are not quite possible and have come to be a bit of a slot urban myth.

One of those is predicting when a slot machine is going to hit. In theory, if you gain access to the Random Number Generator (RNG), you could be able to observe the patterns in games turning out winners. However, it’s likely you would need thousands of hours to understand the algorithm, even if you have some insider knowledge.

Then, you would have to devise a way of telling when the machine is “hot” and about to produce a successful outcome so you can up your winnings on that occasion. This is, in theory, in practice, knowing when a slot machine is going to hit, for all intents and purposes, impossible.

What is the Best Time to Play Slots?

There is not much about the time of day that would influence your gameplay. The only real factor here is how sharp your mind is when you play. If you are tired and playing during your usual sleeping hours, you are far more likely to play excessively and without minding the consequences.

Therefore, you can soon end up playing outside of your budget or making other easily avoidable mistakes. Besides, if you are not quite fresh, you can hardly enjoy your slot machine in full.

How To Win At The Casino

How to Play Slots: A Conclusion

Slot Jackpots

Slots are quite a bit of fun, and they allow you to take advantage of simplistic and yet rewarding gameplay. You can play a video slot or join some of the best progressive games, but you always stand to walk away from a satisfactory gaming session.

Youtube Casino Slot Wins

The tips we have listed here are designed to help you enjoy yourself and find a pace of play you are fully comfortable with. Players who are looking for the best casino games will do well to give online slots a shot. From the many bonus rounds and features to the actual promotions available, these games are our absolute favorite.