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Cruise Ship Winnings - IRS

16 January 2003

I'm a retired senior citizen. While on a 7 day cruise, I hit a $1600 jackpot on the cruise ship slot machine and they issued me a W-2G form. We were in neutral waters off the coast of Canada. The cruise ship is registered in the Bahamas and sails from Seattle. I contested them issuing the W-2 as I thought the IRS had NO jurisdiction in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They made me sign it or I was not going to get my money. I had them write on the W-2 that it was won in Canadian waters.

Is the cruise line required by the IRS to issue this W-2 form? What is the Internal Revenue ruling on this situation?

Thanks,
Bob

Dear Bob,

I do not know if you should have been issued a W-2G under these circumstances. I'll ask if any of our readers have experiences with hitting jackpots in international waters and post their replies in a future column.

In any case, it doesn't matter with regards to your tax return whether or not you should have been issued a W-2G. You have to declare the jackpot as income even if the casino did not issue a W-2G. I suggest you have your return prepared by a professional this year, if you don't already have a professional prepare your return.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net.


For more information about slots and video poker, we recommend:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots by John Robison
Break the One-Armed Bandits! by Frank Scoblete
Victory at Video Poker and Video Craps, Keno and Blackjack! by Frank Scoblete
Slot Conquest Audio Cassette Tape (60 minutes) with Frank Scoblete
Winning Strategies at Slots & Video Poker! Video tape hosted by Academy Award Winner James Coburn, Written by Frank Scoblete
The Slot Machine Answer Book by John Grochowski
The Video Poker Answer Book by John Grochowski
John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots