CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of John Robison

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

No W-2Gs for Table Players! Is That Fair?

31 January 2005

We read your columns regularly, especially regarding video poker, which we love.

In Jacks or Better, what to do when you have two face cards in the same suit and nothing else. Should you hold just one in hopes of getting a quad or hold both for a RF or SF?

Thanks,
Joe and Bobbi

Dear Joe and Bobbi,

Thanks for the kind words about my column.

In Jacks or Better, you should hold a two-card royal over holding just one of the cards.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Hello, John,

This question may be out of your area of expertise, but I will ask anyway.

Anywhere I have been in the states, when you win $1200 or more dollars your slot freezes and you are paid off and given a W2-G form for the IRS. I have been told this does not apply if you are playing craps or blackjack.

Isn't that pretty unfair to us slot players?

Thanks,
Ed

Dear Ed,

You're absolutely right. It is unfair to slot players.

A blackjack player can win $1200, even $12,000, at a table and not get any IRS paperwork, but the poor slot player's wins get reported anytime they're $1200 or more.

There are a few differences between the two situations. The blackjack player, unless he's betting a thousand or more per hand, won his jackpot from a series of bets. The slot player won the jackpot on one bet. In addition, the slot player's bet was a couple of bucks, $100 at most.

Let's say you are playing a $100 slot and hit for $1200. You didn't really win $1200. You won only $1100. The first hundred is just a return of your bet.

What does all this have to do with why slot players get W-2Gs and table games players don't? Nothing. I suspect the reason for the double standard can be found in this joke:

I was driving down the highway, doing the speed limit, when another car passed me. I sped up to keep pace with the other car, but he was going faster than I wanted to go. Still, I was pretty close to his speed and over the limit.

We passed through a speed trap and policeman pulled me over. I asked the policeman why he pulled me over and not the other car, which was going faster. The policeman answered, "Because you were easier to catch."

Very few table games players win $1200 or more from a single bet and it would be very difficult without a tracking system to tell when a player had won $1200 or more overall. And if we did have a way to tell when a table games player left a table with a win of $1200 or more, then it wouldn't be fair to the table players. Slot players can win a series of jackpots that add up to $1200 or more from a machine and not get a form.

In any case, form or not, every player is supposed to report gambling winnings.

I don't know when the $1200 threshold was set, but it was certainly done in a time when jackpots of that size were a fairly rare occurrence. Today, it's not unusual at all to hit a jackpot over that amount, especially on high-limit machines. The casino industry has lobbied to get the threshold raised, but it still stands at $1200.

And with the budget deficits we're facing, don't expect it to be raised anytime soon.

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 send a reply to every question. Also be advised that it may take several months for your question to appear in my column.

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