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FAQ

Do you have to report gambling earnings to the IRS?
Yes you do - it’s the law. The IRS defines gambling winnings as income, and by law you must report all your income.The government recognizes that many of the governed don’t see it that way, so they require casinos to rat you out if you make a “reportable win”. A reportable win is any payout of $1200 or more from a single play on a slot machine, or any win of $2021 or more from a single play at a gaming table. The casino will make you show official ID and give them your social security number so that they can rat you out with a form W2G. If they give you a W2G and you don’t report it, it’s audit time. That doesn’t release you from the obligation to report any smaller winnings you may have picked up that were not reported on a W2G, but the IRS is not yet all-seeing so most people don’t.And note, you have to report gross winnings. Should you be so careless as to lose $2000, then win $1200, then put it all back in again and walk out penniless, you must still report $1200 winnings and pay tax on it. The IRS does, grudgingly, allow you to deduct gambling losses up to the amount you declare as winnings, but to do that you have to itemize, and most people don’t. This concession has come under attack from certain Republican congressmen who don’t think losses should be deductible at all, but so far they haven’t succeeded in getting it into law. The IRS has tried to have the reporting limit lowered to $400, but that was also denied.Should you be a foreign tourist, and therefore unable to give the casino a social security number for a W2G, you still can’t escape. The casino will withhold 30% of your winnings as income tax.
Will the casino give me a document showing my winning to prove where it came from?
Most casinos I know will issue a win/loss statement if you sign up for their rewards program. This statement will show the net change over a long period of time such as the previous year. This one is mine from 2017.If you win a large jackpot such as a hand-pay on a slot machine or some rare side-bet on a table game, you may be issued a W2G form. This works just like a W-2 you get from your employer. It will show the amount that the casino took out in taxes and reported to the IRS.I saw this happen once when someone (not me, sadly) was playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em and hit a royal flush. His total winnings were around $8,000, but they took out about $2,000 in taxes and wrote up the W2G form for him.
Who is liable for taxes in a U.S. casino if one person gambles with another persons money and the second person takes all of the winnings?
The person liable for the taxes is the one who is handed the money by the casino.It’s not like they have any choice in the matter, because the casino issues them with a W2G tax form, and if they don’t then declare their winnings as income the IRS comes after them. A person is allowed to claim their gambling losses against tax, up to the value of any declared winnings, but if they were gambling with someone else’s money and don’t have any losses to offset, they have a bit of a problem. Anyone gambling in partnership needs to be aware of this. If you and a friend are playing together and agree to split a jackpot, the one who signs the W2G is liable for all the tax and the other gets off scot free.Seriously, is there anybody in the entire history of the US tax system who voluntarily declares gambling winnings to be taxed? That’s why the IRS insists that the casino declares it for them, with a W2G form. If you won’t sign a W2G or pra valid social security number, the casino is obliged to withhold 30% of your winnings.
Is it legal to combine money with other people to gamble in Las Vegas?
Yes it is. But there’s one thing to be careful of.If you win a substantial amount on one bet - $1200 or more on a slot machine, or $2021 on a table game - the individual who made that winning bet will be given a W2G tax form by the casino and is responsible for declaring it and paying the tax to the IRS. Everyone in the pool should be aware of that and willing to share the liability.
When are gambling winnings taxable?
The withholding rate for non-resident US is 30% and the tax rate for non-resident US is also 30%. So, if a citizen of a foreign country wins $1 million cash at a slot machine in Las Vegas, he will find he is only paid $700,000. The remaining $300,000 is sent to the IRS. The foreign citizen is unlikely to ever file an income tax return, but the IRS gets paid in full anyway.The one good news is Nevada casinos were able to convince the IRS that they could not keep track of players at table games. They said that when a player cashes out for $7,000, they do not know whether he started with $25 or $25,000. So it is actually written into the law that there is no withholding or even reporting of big winnings to the IRS for blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette or the big-6 wheel.As a professional gambler, you have to pay taxes whether you are a poker, slots, or craps player, or you prefer to bet on horse racing. However, one of the primary differences between the professional and the casual amateur is that professional gamblers can deduct expenses. If you enjoyed your stay in Atlantic City, or the penthouse in Vegas remember lodging that was compensated or “comped” doesn’t count. Only those items that you actually pay for are allowed as tax deductions.[1] Footnotes[1] US Gambling Taxes Guide 2021 - WinMeNot
If a foreign tourist wins over USD 10,000 (or over any other legal limit, as per the DoT regulations) in Las Vegas, what is the most convenient way of getting the money legally back home?
First, the figure of $10,000 isn't a legal limity on the amount of cash you can possess. It's the trigger for a CTR, a "Cash Transaction Report", that financial institutions like banks and casinos have to fill out and report to the IRS. Though the ostensible reason for this is to discourage money laundering, it's really about preventing tax evasion. The law requiring this is quaintly misnamed Bank Secrecy Act.Second, if you win more than $2021 on a hand at a table game, or $1200 at a slot machine, the casino has to issue you a W2G, another tax form designed to make sure you pay tax on your winnings. The US is the only country, as far as I know, that treats gambling winnings as taxable income, and US taxpayers have to declare winnings and pay tax the following April. There's no escape, since the IRS has the W2G with your signature on it. These triggers are per single game , by the way - you can win $1000 on each of 10 games in a row and you won't trigger the W2G on the total, so you can avoid risk by not winning too much at once. You won't be in Vegas long before you see slot machines with a jackpot of $1199 - now you know why the odd sum.  If you happen not to be a US resident liable to US tax, or decline to identify yourself, the casino is  obliged to withhold 30% tax from any winnings reported on a W2G. You can then, supposedly, recover it through your own tax authority after you return home, assuming your tax authority has a "reciprocal agreement" (whatever that is) with the IRS. I don't know what process you have to follow to make such a recovery but I imagine it takes quite a long time.After any deductions, however, the casino will pay you in cash, or issue you a check if you prefer. You can do what you like with it after that, although recent events suggest it's not a good idea to carry a suitcase of cash through the TSA checkpoint at the airport because they will steal it. You could take it to a Western Union and wire it home. This will trigger a CTR, as mentioned in the first paragraph, but that shouldn't concern a foreigner.
Can a video poker player play a 100%+ paytable and make a living off it?
Theoretically, Yes. Though finding full pay Deuces Wild games is difficult, you can find them in some places. Typically, you’ll only find them at the $.25 - $2.00 bet level though.However, the problem with this idea is that the variance of video poker is fairly high. This means that you need a fairly significant bankroll in order to reduce the risk of ruin to an acceptable level.A 1% Risk of Ruin would require a bankroll of 7,048 times the max bet and a 0.1% RoR would require 10,572 times the max bet.So, if you are playing $.25 ($1.25 per play), you would want a bankroll of $13,215. (.01% RoR)Then, if you play perfectly, at a rate of 400 hands per hour you could achieve a theoretical earnings rate of: $3.80 / hour. Plus free drinks in some casinos. (though, free drinks and perfect strategy don’t go together well.)If you play on a $2.00 machine for $10.00 per hand, you need a bankroll of $132,150 and you could earn $30.40 / hour.However, I suspect if you’ve got $132,150 sitting around, $30.40/hr isn’t all that attractive.
Do you have to pay taxes on sport betting?
Sometimes. It depends on if you live in Nevada or from another state or country. Normally, if you win $1200.00 or 300x your original bet you will get a W2G and those winnings are reported to the IRS. You are able to deduct your losses from your winnings but you can not deduct more losses than what you won. This system is outdated and if your filing long form it can help. If your filing short form or EZ then that extra income could force you to pay a higher tax.The best way to avoid paying tax on sports or any gambling is to keep your wins below $1200. $1199 will work on machines. Sports is usually 300-1. If you bet $2.00 and win $602.00 you will receive a W2G. If you are parlaying teams, then you don't want to go over 8 which pays around 150-175 to 1. When you play 9 or more teams the odds go up past 300-1 and not only are these hard to hit, but if you do you will get a W2G.
If you played one of those $10,000 a spin slot machines in Vegas would that mean that anytime it won anything even one credit I would still have to fill out a tax form?
Yes, although they can set the machine to accumulated credit mode, and a staffer will sit by recording each jackpot on a form, then quickly resetting the machine so it’s ready to go again. You get a single W2G at the end of the session.It’s close to impossible to play extremely high-limit machines at any decent speed by feeding it currency and stopping for traditional hand-pays.