We all love to read stories about big wins and imagine ourselves in the shoes of those winners. But, have you ever thought about what happens at that very moment after successfully beating the slot machine? Usually, the slot machine locks up and, in most cases, you hear the music and see the flashing lights on top of the machine. But one of the first questions every player asks is whether they have to pay taxes on casino winnings? Well, you’re about to find out!
Taxes on Slot Machine Winnings in USA
In the USA, when a lucky player hits a jackpot, there’s the option of receiving the winnings in cash or check. In case it’s a large sum, it’s usually paid by check. However, the IRS only obliges the casinos to report winnings that are larger than $1,200.
Of course, all winners are obliged to show a proper identification— a valid ID or passport. When the casino checks for your identification they also look at your age to make sure you are officially and legally old enough to play. As the minimum legal age for gambling varies from state to state, be sure to check it out before you decide to play.
Do I Have to Report All Winnings?
All gambling winnings received from slot machines are subject to federal taxes, and both cash and non-cash winnings (like a car or a vacation) are fully taxable. Apart from slot machines, the same applies to winnings from lottery, bingo, keno, poker or other games of chance. So, if the amount won on a slot machine is higher than $1200, the casino is required to report it. In other words, all your gambling winnings have to be reported on your tax return as "other income" on Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 8.
Slot Machine Winnings in W-2G Form
In case it happens to you and you snag that big win (which we hope one day you will), it’s useful to know that casino or other payer must give you a W-2G Form, listing your name, address and Social Security number. So, if the winnings are reported through a W-2G Form, federal taxes will be withheld at a rate of 25%.
If, however, you didn’t provide your Social Security number (or your Tax Identification Number), in that case the withholding will be 28%. Either way, a copy of your Form W-2G should be issued, showing the amount you won alongside the amount of tax withheld. One copy needs to go to the IRS, as well.
Aside from slot winnings, Form W-2G is issued to winners of the following types of gambling activities like:
- bingo (for players who win $1,200 or more),
- keno (for at least $1,500 worth wins)
- poker tournament players (for the $5,000 win or more).
- a horse track (if the winnings are 300x your bet)
However, not all gambling winnings are subject to IRS Form W2-G. For instance, W2-G forms are not required for winnings from table games like blackjack, baccarat, and roulette, whatever the amount. You’d still have to report your winnings to the IRS, it’s just you won’t need to do it through W-2G Form.
Are My Slot Losses Deductible?
The good news is that you can deduct your slot losses (line 28 of Schedule A, Form 1040), while the bad news is gambling losses are deductible only up to the amount of your wins. In other words, you can use your losses to compensate for your winnings. So, let’s say you won $200 on one bet, but you lost $400 on one or a few others, you can only deduct the first $200 of losses. Meaning if you didn’t win anything for a year, you won’t be able to deduct any of your gambling losses.
Keep a good track of your winnings and losses to prove them with appropriate documentation.
In order to prove your losses, you need to keep good records and have suitable documents. So, whenever you lose, keep those losing tickets, cancelled checks and credit slips. Your documentation must include the amount you won or lost, a date and time, type of wager, type of your gambling activity, name of each casino/address of each casino you visited and the location of their gambling business. You may as well list the people who were with you.
Do State and Local Taxes Apply Separately?
Yes, you are required to pay your state or local taxes on your gambling winnings. In case you travel to another state, and snag some huge winning combo there, that other state would want to tax your winnings too. But don’t worry, you won't be taxed twice, as the state where you reside needs to give you a tax credit for the taxes you pay to that other state.
Keep in mind though that some states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Ohio don't allow gambling losses.
Online Slot Taxes
Whether you usually spin the reels of your favourite casino games in land-based casinos in the US, overseas casinos, or online casinos, all income for the citizens of the US is taxable. As a US citizen, you are required to send Form W2G for all winnings from a slot machine (not reduced by the wager) that equals to or is more than $1,200.
Taxes on Slot Machine Winnings in UK
As a resident of the United Kingdom, your gambling winnings won’t be taxed. Unlike the USA mentioned above, you’ll be allowed to keep whatever it is that you have won and earned in Britain, even in case you are a poker pro. Then again, you won’t be able to deduct any losses you might collect.
Currently, slot machine winnings are not taxed in the United Kingdom. The same goes for any other casino game.
It doesn’t really matter if you win £5 or £5 million playing online slots, your winnings will be tax-free as long as you reside anywhere in the UK, be that in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland.
Taxes on Slot Machine Winnings in Canada
If you are a recreational player who lives in Canada, we have good news for you. When it comes to gambling, you don't have to pay taxes as your winnings are totally tax free. According to laws in Canada, gambling activities don’t fall under the category of constant source of income, therefore your winnings will not be taxed.
Canadians who do not make a living on their winnings are not required by the law to pay taxes on their winnings.
Canadians don't even pay taxes on their lottery winnings. The only exception here are professional gamblers who make a living from betting and are, therefore, obliged to pay taxes. Keep in mind though, this is the current situation - laws in Canada change frequently, which may also include tax laws.
Taxes on Slot Machine Winnings in Australia
In case you reside in Australia and like to visit casinos from time to time, you’ll be happy to find out that your winnings in Australia will not taxed and here are 3 core reasons for that:
- Gambling is not treated a profession (it's treated as a hobby)
- The government doesn’t see profits from gambling activities as income, but as a result of good luck
- The Australian government taxes casino operators and lottery organisers instead.
Of course, taxation varies from state to state.
Taxes on Slot Machine Winnings in New Zealand
Unlike in Australia, where even professional players can claim they are recreational, in New Zealand slot machine winnings (and any other winnings from casino games) are considered taxable income, in case the player has little income from other resources.
But, apart from professional gambling, it is very unusual for winnings to be taxed in New Zealand. Most often, gambling is considered recreational and not income, so players can enjoy their gameplay as they do not have to pay taxes on their winnings.
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