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Hitting a royal on Let It Ride

11 April 2009

Actually this is a card game question. I love to play Let It Ride, even though I have heard all the reasons not to play, house edge etc. I normally bet $5-10 each hand plus bet the bonus.

I have two questions to ask. Assuming I am in Las Vegas at Harrah's, Bally's or MGM and I get lucky enough to hit a Royal Flush with normal amount bet plus the bonus, 1st question: Is this taxable? 2nd question is do they give you all in cash or a check?

Thanks for your help. I always enjoy reading letters in Casino City.

Sylvia

Dear Sylvia,

First answer to first question: Yes, it is taxable. The IRS site says, "Gambling winnings are fully taxable and must be reported on your tax return." But I think what you're really wondering is whether it will be reported to the IRS. According to the back of Form W-2G, the casino should issue one when you receive "$600 or more in gambling winnings (except winnings from bingo, keno, slot machines, and poker tournaments) and the payout is at least 300 times the amount of the wager." Winnings from bingo, keno, etc. are dealt with in other paragraphs. You should get a W-2G.

As for your second question, I have to admit that I have never had the pleasure of winning an amount that large, so I don't have any firsthand knowledge or experience with how a casino handles paying that amount.

My guess is that the casino is going to consider the hassle of cutting a check as compared with paying cash, the safety of a patron carrying a large amount of cash, and the requirement that the casino file a Currency Transaction Report when paying a patron $10,000 or more in cash. (I'm not sure the casino would have to file this report. They don't when the winnings are from slot machines or video lottery terminals because those winnings are random and difficult to influence. Table games, on the other hand, are more vulnerable to manipulation and cheating and thus are more likely to be involved in some sort of money laundering scheme. On the other hand, because there is a W-2G, the transaction has already been memorialized and there should be no need for the CTR.)

The bottom line is that I think the casino will give it to you however you want it, including putting it on deposit for you at the cage.

Let us know how things play out after you hit your royal.

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. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

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