The problem with video gambling The DeLorean paradox: how it failed and became 1 day ago   05:59

What happened when Illinois legalized machines known as “the crack cocaine of gambling”.

Become a member of the Vox Video Lab!

For more in-depth reporting, check out ProPublica Illinois’ feature piece on video gambling: And if you want more of their articles, you can sign up for their newsletter here:

Do you know someone struggling with video gambling? Help ProPublica understand video slots and poker addiction in Illinois:

Nearly a decade ago, Illinois lawmakers legalized video gambling. They hoped that the machines, which offered up electronic versions of games like slots or poker, would generate billions of dollars of revenue for the state. So they passed a bill quickly, with little debate, to expand the industry dramatically. Illinois now has more than 30,000 of these machines, and more locations to legally place a bet than Nevada.

A ProPublica Illinois investigation has found that the expansion of video gambling hasn’t pulled Illinois out of debt — it’s actually accelerated it. While people in Illinois have gambled a lot more on machines that can be highly addictive, most of the additional money has ended up in the hands of a small group of companies behind video gambling.

Watch the video above to find out what this could mean for the states and cities across the country considering gambling expansions.

Note: The headline for this video has been updated since publishing.
Previous headline: Video gambling: Not a great way to fund a government

Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

Watch our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Facebook:
Or Twitter:

Comments 823 Comments

Moo Cow
These horrid things are new in the US?
Gonzalo F
I was very surprised to find that gambling is so restricted in the USA, a country known as an example of freedom. In Spain you can find gambling machines at lots of bars, but they are strictly regulated, for example each of them has a sticker saying how much money does the machine pay back (for example, 85%). Here, game addiction has increased recently, because of an economic crisis we have just left. It's sad to see how popular have became bet houses and casinos, specially in the poorest neighborhoods, where you can see people spending more than they can afford.
I'm really not sure whether or not the government (of any country)should prohibit this kind of business, restricting it's citizens freedom in order to protect them from their own weakness.
aryaaa 19197
Dare I say, I like the voice of this narrator
Simon Carter
You’ve disabled your comments of some videos to deny your platform as hate speech. This only proves the theory that freedom of speech is a poison, topics that are controversial are enforced on channels like this and similar to it because it is popular at the time and those who oppose are discredited. This restricts all freedom of speech. This proves freedom of speech as a poison to humanity.
St. Batu
Observed pattern: an American outlet criticizes an American institution or official (opinion, room for improvement...) then some ignorant foreigners see it as an opportunity for 'America bad' comments.
The irony is most of these kids are from some really backward places where you can't even be critical of the government or officials. It's like the case of a poor homeless person laughing at the rich person for only having two mansions.
Living in Illinois, I thought the fact that most bars and restaurants haing video slots was just a normal, nationwide thing. It makes sense that it's a lot herder to find bars that don't have slots compared to Wisconsin
Michael Dawson
These vlts are at almost every small bar in canada
Misty Stewart
John Oliver profiled a woman who would use her family's grocery money on these machines. She was heartbreaking to watch.
sour doe
I've been playing slots for a while but recently quit cause I finally won it all back and I have to say digital or reel slots can have the same odds. Digital just has more potential to be fun and addictive so of course that's where everyone goes. Digital slots these days more often play like video games, especially the style of Konami's slots or even slots with progression aspects. Everything about them is intended to be addictive, from the lights and colors used to the gameplay. Add a comfy seat and you'll want to sit there forever and get lost in the game. Wouldn't be surprised if psychologists were involved with the making of some. Everyone I'm sure knows the odds and knows this but they chose to anyways which I'm sure was for more than just a chance at winning, It's a great distraction with more thrills and real money used all the time. Mine it all started with putting a 20 into a flashy machine, hitting some button, and getting lucky then wanting to go back again for multiple reasons. If it was just say walking up to a booth, giving someone the money, and seeing I won anything after I never would have. It was the fun and way it looked that initially drew me in and the comfort of the casino. But everyone has a choice, it should be legal because no one forced you to start in the first place and the chances of hitting a life changing jackpot are extremely slim. 3 years of it and I've only been up $600 at most across more spins and bet ranges than I can recall right now. But all it takes is sitting down at the right time and spinning once, then you have over a thousand instantly plus taxes.
Dave Davidson
Both traditional and electronic slots are programmed to pay out a set amount per x amount of money. In the UK these are set by law and are often in the 70-90% range. You could easily have a much higher chance of winning on an electronic slot due to these settings. You didnt make that clear at all and seemed to misunderstand how payouts on electronic slots work.
Lots of very misleading and outright incorrect information. Vox video, shocking. Eyeroll 🙄🙄
Radwulf Eboraci
This is a tax on the lower middle class and the poor.
i dont read replies
Gamblers are fucken stupid and I'm glad their desperation gets rewarded with nothing but debt
Username Password
This is nothing new. it's the equivalent of winning the lottery IF you hit the jackpot. You are better off playing card games against other people such as WAR or Texas Hold'em where the house still gets a cut but you take the other players money if you win the hand. I don't trust anything electronic just because it's so easy to program them to make you lose more times than not. I'd much rather gamble on the stock market as opposed to electronic video gambling machines. Way better odds of getting a return on your investment.
Bullshit physical reels can have odds set just the same
Steven Tran
Sheldon Cooper
Illinois is a far left progress state. You Democrats allowed this. Fix it!
Nice use of the word "gaming."
Honestly i live in Australia and i probs have more machines in my town then a whole state over there 😂
Devon Simpson
The crazy thing about these "video games" is that the only real video game developer who makes them is Konami. IGT (well known for slot machines) dominates the industry. Oddly companies like Activision and electronic arts(even though both are known for a form of gambling in video games called loot boxes) don't make any casino software or games.
Add Reply

The DeLorean paradox: how it failed and became The problem with video gambling 1 day ago   17:40

The DeLorean was supposed to be the car of the future. Then they stopped making it.

Help us make our channel more ambitious by joining the Vox Video Lab. Becoming a member brings you closer to our work and gets you exclusive perks, like livestream Q&As with your favorite Vox creators. Learn more at

Subscribe to our channel!

In this episode of Vox Almanac, producer Phil Edwards explores the past and present of the DeLorean Motor Company, which made the infamous DMC-12. Though many today know the car through the movie Back to the Future, DeLorean has its own incredible story to tell (and one that’s almost harder to believe than a story about time travel).

John Z. DeLorean is at its center as the founder and namesake of the company. His path through the upper echelon of General Motors seemed to have set him on course for that company’s Presidency — but he dreamed of starting his own company. The result was the DeLorean Motor Company, which was established in America and eventually planted a factory in Dunmurry, Ireland, near Belfast and during the sectarian civil war known as “the Troubles.”

For this video, we interviewed Barrie Wills about his experience working at the company — but we also talked to DeLorean owners about the ways the car has endured, thanks to the movie Back to the Future, and, more importantly, their own ingenuity and creativity. A DeLorean community has kept the car going and, despite the fact that production ended in the early '80s, the car continues to inspire new fans even today. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

Watch our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Facebook:
Or Twitter:

Related Videos