Video Lottery Terminals, or VLT’s, are used by many casinos all over the country. But what is the difference? Are some class II, class III gaming? Are they pre-determined from a central lottery RNG?
Well, I had find out – and who better to ask than the Casino Answer Man, John Grochowski. John has been quoted many times on NETimeGambling.com and has become a friend of our blog. So, I presented four questions about VLT’s, and here are his replies:
NETG: John, what are VLT’s?
JG: Different states mean different things by “VLT.” The only thing you can assume by the name is that they have a connection to the state lottery. That’s the differentiator. If an electronic game generates revenue for the state lottery, it is a VLT. If there is no lottery connection, it is not a VLT. But the VLT term covers several different types of games, and some of them are Class III-type slots with random number generators.
NETG: Are they all considered class II, or can they be considered Class III even though they are controlled by a lottery system?
JG: Not all VLTs are Class II. And to be technical, Class II and Class III are Native American gaming designations. We use the term Class II in non-Native American casinos to refer to games with central determination rather than individual random number generators, an we use Class III to refer to RNG games, but state laws aren’t necessarily set up with Class I, Class II, Class III terminology.
But that’s a language technicality, so answer to your question is that yes, VLTs can be Class III-type RNG games.
NETG: Is it possible that, for example, in Rhode Island, the VLT’s used are much more like Vegas style Class III – a sort of hybrid regulated by the Rhode Island Lottery but still single machine operated like class III machines in neighboring Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun in CT?
JG: Rhode Island VLTs are Class III-type games with RNGs, just like slots at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun, or in Atlantic City, or Las Vegas. There is a central monitoring system, but the results aren’t determined by a central processor. Results are determined at the individual game.
NETG: Are results of playing VLT machines controlled like a bingo machine from a single centralized RNG, even though the Bingo Card Image is not present on the top of the machine?
JG: Whether results at a VLT are controlled by a central processor is determined by state law. There is no national standard for this. In New York, results are centrally determined. In Rhode Island, they are not.
Centrally determined results do not necessarily mean the game being played is electronic bingo, with bingo patterns then translated into images of slot reels or video poker cards as in Class II games in Native American casinos. In New York, the game being played is not electronic bingo. Instead, imagine the central processor contains a very large stack of scratchoff cards. When you push the button to play, the processor delivers the results of a card off the stack to your machine, which translates those results into symbols on slot reels.
In Rhode Island, the results are determined at your machine by an RNG. The RNG generates random numbers, and the numbers are mapped onto slot reels. Rhode Island is not alone in having RNG games on VLTs. Oregon and South Dakota also have VLTs that are really Class III-type slots with RNGs. Illinois has similar games in bars, restaurants, truck stops and service clubs, but does not use the term VLT. The differentiator is that the Illinois Lottery does not receive revenue from these games, while the lotteries in Oregon and South Dakota do.