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Gambling Caucus Ready to Reform ‘Archaic’ Slot Tax Rule

The action on any casino floor is meant to be intense and continuous, but that’s not always how it works out. Thanks to a 1977 law requiring operators to fill out a W-2G tax form on any winning play over $1,200. But a group of lawmakers, led by Nevada Rep. Dina Titus (D) are pushing a measure that would push that threshold up to $5,000, a move that would save casino operators some major headaches.

As it stands today, regulated casinos are bound by the law that not only requires a W-2G on payouts of over $1,200, it also means that the machine will be shut down until a casino employee can come by with the paperwork. That take a machine out of action and leaves players standing around waiting, not playing, which is something casino operators do not like. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that large slot winners have actually missed flights at McCarran Airport while they waited for their paperwork.

Under the terms of a new bill proposed by Titus, casino operators would not have to report wins $5,000 and higher, a move that would bring the threshold to a more contemporary standard. “This threshold was set back in the ’70s, and we all know how inflation works and what it looks like today. Back then, a $1,200 jackpot meant something completely different than what it means today,” Alex Costello, vice president of government relations for the American Gaming Association recently explained to the Review-Journal. When adjusted for inflation, $1,200 1977 dollars comes out to about $6,000 2023 dollars.

Given that more than 15 million W2-Gs were filled out in 2020, the last year for which the statistics are available, raising the threshold to $5,000 is a very big deal.

Titus says that she plans on introducing some sort of legislation on this topic withing two months.