This is how the IRS taxes the winnings of players in Las Vegas casinos

This is how the IRS taxes the winnings of players in Las Vegas casinos
Super Slots

While the IRS always wins doesn’t have the same ring to it, winnings from some of the world’s most famous tables will still get taxed.

Las Vegas, the oasis of entertainment and gambling deep in the Nevada desert, attracted 40 million visitors in 2023, seeking the chance to strike it rich. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a keen eye on the winnings of these gamblers, ensuring that the house isn’t the only one taking a cut.

All gambling winnings, regardless of the source, are considered taxable income by the IRS. For US citizens, gambling winnings are fully taxable and must be reported as “Other Income” on Form 1040. The payer will deduct 24% from winnings above certain thresholds and issue a W-2G tax form.

These thresholds vary by game: $1,200 or more for slot machines and bingo, $1,500 for keno, $5,000 for poker tournaments, and $600 or more if the winnings are 300 times the wager amount or greater. If you have won more than $5,000, the payer may be required to withhold 28% of the proceeds for Federal income tax. However, if you did not provide your Social Security number to the payer, the amount withheld will be 31%.

This applies to both US citizens and non-US citizens alike. The IRS enforces a 30% withholding tax on casino winnings for non-US citizens, ensuring that income earned within US borders is taxable, regardless of the winner’s country of origin.

Using gambling losses to offset taxes

Gambling losses can be deducted to offset winnings, but only up to the amount of winnings reported. Detailed records of losses must be kept. Non-US citizens can potentially recover some or all of the 30% withholding tax by obtaining an ITIN and filing a Non-Resident Alien (NRA) tax return, especially if their home country has a tax treaty with the US like the UK.