Because casinos must issue tax forms to slot players who hit jackpots of $1,200 or more, today could be a wake-up call to those who had nice wins in 2015 but now must pay a portion to the government.
But here’s a way to avoid that tax form: You can play a series of machines at Magic City Casino that promise to yield a jackpot of … $1,199 or less.
The bank of 30 machines at the Miami casino build on what is known as a progressive jackpot, meaning the payout total rises with each spin from each machine. This bank starts with a jackpot of $1,100 and guarantees payout somewhere between that number and $1,199.
Depending on how often the machines are played — progressives slots are fueled by a penny or two from each spin feeding into the big jackpot —the slots hit at least once a week, usually more, said Magic City COO Scott Savin. (Magic City operators also own one-fourth of the new Casino @ Dania Beach and have a $1,199 progressive there, too.)
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The games have varying themes and denominations, ranging from 10 cents per spin to $2.
Now, just to clean up the tax talk here: All gambling winnings, even $1, are supposed to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service as income. But only scores of $1,200 require casinos to issue tax forms, which the IRS is copied in on. So, whether or not you report smaller wins is strictly between your accountant and you.
Also note that other casinos also have progressive machines, many with jackpots that slip in under that $1,200 mark. But I don’t think I’ve seen any others flaunt tax evasion as proudly.
IRS backs off
The IRS had been looking to lower the reporting threshold for slot wins to $600 — the same point lottery winners must report — but American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman said Uncle Sam will likely back off.
Casino operators argued that, if anything, the threshold should be increased because of inflation. The reporting procedure began in 1977. Casinos also don’t like that machines must “lock up” while the paperwork is being filled out, costing players time on the machines.
The IRS received 14,120 written public comments about the proposal, the vast majority of them negative.
Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach has tournaments at 7 p.m. seven nights a week. Cost is $70 Monday, $90 Tuesday, $50 Wednesday (PLO), $110 Thursday, $70 Friday, $50 Saturday (with $10 rebuys) and $110 Sunday. The tournaments are now high-hand eligible, and those who register before 7 p.m. receive 1,000 bonus units.
Got $38,500? Play in three big tournaments. The World Poker Tour Hard Rock Poker Showdown begins Friday in Hollywood. The event, which costs $3,500, is the tournament that will air later this year on Fox Sports. The $10,000 WPT Hard Rock Poker Finale starts April 17, and the $25,000 high roller tournament starts April 19. The final tables will be live-streamed on Twitch.tv and Pluto.tv.
Miccosukee Resort & Gaming has a $10K guarantee tournament at 5 p.m. Friday. Buy-in is $125.
▪ Casino Miami gives away a Chevy Colorado, but you have to stay up late. The drawing is at 3 a.m. Saturday (they call it “late Friday night”). The casino also continues its hourly free-play drawings from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The grand prize is $2,500 cash at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., plus free-play prizes of $100-$1,000.
▪ Hialeah Park gives away $10,000 in cash and free play each Saturday in April. Players’ club members receive free entries and can earn more entries with every 25 points earned. The prizes are $1,000 in free play hourly from 2 to 4 p.m., $2,000 cash at 5 p.m. Then it’s $1,000 in free play hourly from 9 to 11 p.m., and $2,000 cash at midnight. The band Apache Dragon, which excels at the music of Santana, plays a fee show at 9 p.m. Saturday on the Fountain Terrace.
▪ Calder offers “Cookies, Coffee and Free Play” 9-11 a.m. Thursdays. Players who earn 10 slot points Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday get the cookie and coffee and are part of drawings that yield $50 free play every 30 minutes.
▪ Seminole Casino Coconut Creek has a “$50,000 ‘Hole in One’ Giveaway” from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Ten players will be called every hour. Three players will play the “Hole in One” game on the interactive video wall for a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash and free play, and seven players will receive a $200 free-play prize. The casino also has a golf expo and merchandise liquidation sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. PGA pro Bob Toski will give a clinic at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10. Go to SFPGAGolf.com or call 561-729-0544.
▪ Air Supply ( “All Out of Love,” “The One That You Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” ) plays at Magic City Casino at 8 p.m. Friday and at the Casino @ Dania Beach at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $35-$90.
Get daily gambling news at SouthFloridaGambling.com.