Tax Implications of Winning at Blackjack in Vegas

Hi Guys, I was reading an interesting thread on Reddit today, and thought I’d summarize it for you, the question – exactly as it was stated was:

If I made a $5,000 bet on a single hand of black jack (in Vegas) and won, what would happen next? (Tax wise)

I have heard different things but where is the mark where they have to take info to file taxes? Also, how would this change by making the bet more or less?

Would any comps come into effect with either a win or a loss?

New Vegas Casino-Cromwell

Here is a selection of the best answers, amalgamated by yours truly!


That would only be a $5,000 gain if you won (or $7,500 for a 3:2 blackjack). I think the reporting threshold is $10,000.

In any case, even if you won more than $10,000 on a single blackjack hand I wouldn’t think that the tax reporting would come in to play. I think that’s only triggered on jackpot wins of $10,000 or more. Even if they wanted to report when you cashed in more than $10,000 in chips that wouldn’t necessarily be valid either since you could have bought in with more than that.

IRS has different thresholds depending how you won:

Reportable Gambling Winnings Report gambling winnings on Form W-2G if: 1. The winnings (not reduced by the wager) are $1,200 or more from a bingo game or slot machine, 2. The winnings (reduced by the wager) are $1,500 or more from a keno game, 3. The winnings (reduced by the wager or buy-in) are more than $5,000 from a poker tournament, 4. The winnings (except winnings from bingo, slot machines, keno, and poker tournaments) reduced, at the option of the payer, by the wager are: a. $600 or more, and b. At least 300 times the amount of the wager, or 5. The winnings are subject to federal income tax withholding (either regular gambling withholding or backup withholding).

On he last line I think $5k is the threshold.

I’ve been issued W2Gs for as little as $4k before they’d cash me out. Some people just squirrel chips away or hold onto chips if they know they’re coming back soon to avoid the paperwork (which has taken 15+ minutes if you’re on the floor).

By the way, keep all your casino ATM receipts and even better, if you play rated, the casino can issue you a statement so you can deduct your losses against your winnings.

As for comps no, they want regular play. One bender of a trip won’t be as fruitful (to the casino) as a regular series of visits. Time is what earns them money and four hour stints per day is the standard expectation.

And since pits can’t hand out comps anymore, you can’t even get buffet passes which is about all I could get for a single big bet.

vegas image 2

This answer (above) was countered with:

Your reply w/r/t comps is silly. The casino doesn’t earn money on time, it earns money on expected loss. One $5000 blackjack bet gives an expected win to the casino of about $50.

One $5000 BJ hand is worth more to the casino than four hours of small betting, provided the total amount wagered by the small bettor is under $5000. This is a safe assumption with say a $10 or $15 bet.

The key difference is that the casino figures any person making a $5000 buy-in can afford to gamble much more. It’s the buy-in that gets the attention. If you buy in for $5000 at at BJ game and risk it all on one hand, at minimum you will be getting rooms, food, and probably a host if you ask for it. Just don’t tell them that this was a big deal for you.

Finally: “And since pits can’t hand out comps anymore, you can’t even get buffet passes which is about all I could get for a single big bet.” — this is completely false. Pit supervisors in American casinos all have the power to issue comps. Maybe they just didn’t like you.

Then – finally bringing it all together there was a great reply from someone who actually works at a casino!

I work as a Surveillance Officer in a casino in MO. Every state that allows gaming has different regulations. Basic Blackjack has only two payouts, the 1-1 for beating the dealer and the blackjack payout at either 3-2 (or 6-5), plus insurance if that is offered.

You can totally reach MTL and CTR while playing blackjack. At a pit both of those are based on your buy-ins. So if your aggregate total gets to $3000.00 you’re now MTL. The casino will send that paperwork to the IRS, reporting it is the patrons job. You reach CTR at $10,000.00, which is once again paperwork sent to the IRS. Again reporting it is your job. Casinos in MO only take out taxes on table games when their is a table jackpot. Winning a hand on blackjack doesn’t apply for that.

From a surveillance stand point I collect face photos for both CTR and MTL then turn those into the pit and the bank.

Taxes: nothing would happen. you are required to report the income on your tax return, but winning $5000 on a single hand of blackjack while betting $5000 would not trigger any tax paperwork. Cashing out $10k at the cage would generate a CTR (Cash transaction report), which is only to prevent money laundering and has nothing to do with taxes. Cashing out $10k at the cage would trigger a CTR but the IRS would have no way of knowing whether you won $5000 on that $10k cash out or lost $20,000 because you bought in for $25k. Reporting gambling winnings is your responsibility.

If instead you had bet $1 at pai gow poker fortune bonus and hit a 7-card straight flush, which pays 5000 to 1, tax paperwork would be generated because the amount you won is more than 300 times the amount you wagered. This is because if you hit a large jackpot, the tax authorities can be sure that you actually did win money.

Comps: if the casino doesn’t know who you are before you make the bet, it will be very interested to find out after you buy in for $5000. The floorman supervising the buy-in would likely ask if you want to be rated for future bets. if you decline, he might offer you a room or dinner comp, or offer to set you up with a host. It would help for comp purposes if you acted like it was no big deal to make this bet instead of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Also I’m gonna do a report on the high action at the table, get the name if possible, face photo, and the estimated total of the patrons bankroll.