Can a casino player's card help you pay less taxes?
Gaming writer Mark Pilarski answers a reader's question about whether pulling the casino's player's card when you have a natural royal flush will help him save money at tax time
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on pulling your player's card when dealt a natural royal flush?
You would show money deposited, but not the money actually won. Because I use a win/loss statement for tax purposes, the natural royal flush wouldn't show as a win, which in turn, should allow me to avoid paying taxes on it. — Kyle S.
ANSWER: Don't think you can cheat the system just because the coin-in meter has registered your play, and although you haven't pressed the "hold" buttons yet, your natural royal won't be recorded anywhere if you cleverly pull your card.
I am sorry to disappoint you, but there are two problems with your tax-avoidance scheme:
The newer machines now have player-tracking systems integrated directly into the slot machine's operating system.
So when you strategically snatch your card, its removal does not record like that anymore. Slot manufacturers got wise to that chicanery years ago.
Furthermore, Kyle, with a payout of $1,200 or more on any slot/video poker machine, you will automatically be handed a tax form (W2G), so there is no benefit to you yanking your player's card before an outcome.
Besides, the use of a player's card has no effect on your tax liability. If you win $1,200 or more in a single spin (including the original bet), the casino will report your win to Uncle Sam along with issuing you a W2G, whether or not you used a player's card.
Let's leave for another column the potential consequences of deliberately manipulating or falsifying gambling records.