Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) is one of the popular types of electronic gambling machines. It is sometimes referred to as video lottery, video slots, or video gaming terminal. The machines are mainly found in licensed bars and restaurants and are regulated by a region's lottery. With these machines, players can place a wager on the outcomes of video games in a casino.
VLTs feature a wide array of games, including keno and video slot machines like scratch cards and bingo. They use a generator to select numbers randomly. This means that each bet placed on the machine is random. Furthermore, a state's central computer system usually monitors video lottery terminals.
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📌 History of VLT
New Brunswick was the first province to introduce VLTs in Canada in 1990, and by 1991, they were all over Atlantic Canada. Since 2002, the Atlantic Lottery Corporation has regulated VLT operations in the region. VLTs also started operating in Western Canada in 1991. In 1994, Quebec introduced VLTs. Today, all provinces in Canada except British Columbia have legalized VLTs.
VLTs were primarily introduced to Canada to address gambling problems related to larger casinos. These machines are equipped with safeguard features and restrictions that can limit a player. For instance, some VLTs have limits on cash spent, and they track a player’s activities. These features are not included in casino-style slot machines. Some provinces are also working to limit the number of VLT in years to come.
📌 Unites States
In 1981, the New York State Lottery planned to experiment with 20 machines in an attempt to introduce VLTs. However, it was canceled after the Attorney General deemed it illegal.
In 1983, the New Jersey Lottery also had a similar plan, but it failed due to conflict-of-interest concerns between the state officials and VLT manufacturers. Luckily, towards the end of the same year, Bellevue, Nebraska installed the country's first VLTs as part of its municipal lottery. After this, eleven other local lotteries in the state installed VLTs. The state banned all the devices in 1985.
On October 16, 1989, South Dakota introduced VLTs owned by private companies but regulated by the South Dakota Lottery. The board used a centralized computer system to ensure the games are of integrity. Also, they make sure that players' activities always comply with lottery jurisdictions.
Moreover, the state imposed a substantial tax on the machines' gross income minus the players' winnings. In 1992, four petitions were filed to repeal the machines, but they didn't go through. In May 2006, another petition was filed, but the voters again chose to keep VLTs operating in the state.
Today, many US states have legalized VLTs, and they include Oregon, Delaware, West Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois, Montana, Louisiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, Maryland, and New York. The U.S. Virgin Islands also accept residents to play VLTs. The local governments use the funds from the machines to finance different programs on the islands.
Racino is a unique concept that combines racetracks and casinos. It was introduced in West Virginia in 1990 after it allowed MTR Gaming Group to include VLTs in Chester at the Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort. Delaware, Rhode Island, Louisiana, and New York, Ohio have also legalized VLTs in racinos.
Since the 1970s, Montana, Nevada, and New Jersey have legalized non-lottery machine gaming. Besides, VLT-type poker, keno, and bingo machines operate in Montana under the private sector. All establishments in Montana licensed for on-premises consumption of alcohol can operate these machines, but they are technically not part of the state's lottery.
📌 Class III video lottery
Today, only Oregon and South Dakota can incorporate Class III gaming technology into VLT games. Montana devices also employ this technology, but they are not monitored by the Montana Lottery and are not considered VLTs. The VLT program used on VLT devices is similar to those that are deployed in Canada. The state gives players a payout of 91-95% on all their games. South Dakota and Montana require VLT providers to have a payout of more than 80%.
The main difference is with VLTs players compete against each other for a particular prize, whereas in slot machines, each device is designed independently, and players play against the house.
Most VLTs have a maximum credit amount of about $100.
The payout of VLTs is a percentage amount that is calculated by averaging more than thousands of spins.