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20 May 2015
By John Robison, Slot Expert™
A few weeks ago I reported that the IRS is considering lowering the W-2G threshold on slot winnings from $1200 to $600. The IRS has a legitimate rationale for lowering the threshold -- $600 is the threshold for sweepstakes and lotteries. Bringing the two tresholds in line eliminates some confusion. The agency also claims that with today's highly automated slot floors, issuing considerably more W-2Gs will not place an undue burden on the casino.
The American Gaming Association disputed the IRS' claim that the lower reporting requirement would not be burdensome and also pointed out that machines will be out of play more often, impacting the revenue the casino earns from the machinem -- and the revenue states earn from casinos. The association also calculated that if the $1200 threshold were indexed for inflation, it would be $4700 today.
In a commentary attached to today's CDC Gaming Report, Jeffrey Compton, publisher and casino consultant, said, "It's time to get the players involved!" Compton pointed out that none of the casinos who have his email address have sent any communications about the proposal and what players can do about it. I too have received many emails and mailings about discounted rooms, tournaments and other events in the weeks since the proposal was announced, but nothing from the casinos about the proposal.
Compton posits that this change may actually affect players more than casinos. Casinos already have the procedures in place to issue W-2Gs; they're just going to do it more often. Players, on the other hand, will now get W-2Gs for events that were previously unreported. Quarter video poker players, for example, who thought that they were immune from W-2Gs, will now get one for a royal flush, putting them on a par with dollar video poker players. And dollar video poker players who play the more volatile paytables will now get a W-2G for hands other than royals. Compton furthermore says that multi-hand video poker machines will become "W-2G factories, even for nickel players."
To put it bluntly – players, especially frequent experienced players (that is, the casino’s best customers) are going to be angry about this – and they will be especially angry when they realize that maybe they could have done something. Nobody likes to be in a bad situation that could have turned out differently if someone had appropriately asked for their help!
To this end, Compton put out a call to action and asked his readers to rally the troops of players/citizens/taxpayers/voters. He listed five action items from an email from Sara Rayme, the AGA's Senior Vide President of Public Affairs.
The AGA provided this script for messages to the IRS and Congress, but I encourage you to edit the words as you see fit or, better yet, use your own words.
Together we can stop this proposal.
Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert™, at email@example.com. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.
13 May 2015I have terrible luck at slot machines. I can honestly say that I haven't won in a long time. A friend told me that I don't sit at a machine long enough. You have to sit there and play and play. If I put $20 in a machine and haven't really won anything, should I find another machine? How do you know ... (read more)
6 May 2015I understand that some slots work as if they are lottery scratch-off tickets. Does that mean a limited number of winning tickets? It seems to me you can play for a top prize that has been awarded and never know it had already been claimed. I think this is unfair to the player, who is thinking that a max bet will achieve a jackpot but that jackpot has already been paid. ... (read more)
29 April 2015I am a loyal fan of your column. You have taught me a lot about slot machines and I really appreciate the work you do. My sisters and I really love playing slots. We are in some casino at least twice a month. We have long noticed that slot makers make games featuring every race under the sun except black. ... (read more)