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Best of John Grochowski
Handling a darkside bettor at a rightside table21 June 2015
The worst was when the sevens would come. “Switch sides, losers! Come over to the dark side!”
What can you do about wrong bettors?
ANSWER: I’m strictly on the grin and bear it side. Wrong bettors – those who bet on don’t pass, don’t come or against the box numbers – are making perfectly legal bets and have the right to bet against the grain. The house edge on don’t pass and don’t come is slightly lower than that on pass and come, and I can’t blame anyone for making them.
For me, part of the fun of craps is the camaraderie of winning together, and I’d rather be part of the cheering crowd when the shooter makes a point. So when I play, most of the time I’ll be betting “right.”
In the midst of that cheering crowd, jeers from one player can rankle. But it’s a two-way street. The multitudes cheer when he loses. As irritating as it can be, when he wins and the many lose, he’s entitled to his celebration, too.
That said, I have turned to the dark side on rare occasions. When I do, I just collect my money if it comes. I’m not really one for lone cheers and jeers, and it’s rare that anyone has given me any grief about betting opposite the crowd.
QUESTION: I don’t really understand the tax situation with table games. I’ve cashed out thousands of dollars in blackjack, and not had to sign a tax form. Yet I watched one night when a guy at a Caribbean Stud table had to sign a tax form after a straight flush. It wasn’t even the big royal jackpot, just a regular straight flush. I think it was only a couple of thousand and I know I’ve cashed out more than that without the form. What gives?
ANSWER: As long as you make bets with even-money payoffs or relatively low-odds returns, the IRS does not require the casino to have you sign a tax form before you’re paid. Even the 35-1 payoffs on single-number bets in roulette fall below the IRS threshold.
That doesn’t mean winnings aren’t taxable. All net gambling winnings are considered income and are taxable, but in general, it’s on the honor system. Casinos don’t report player winnings to the IRS.
Jackpot winnings are an exception. On table games, casinos must have you sign a tax form if the odds against winning are 300-1 or higher and the payoff is $600 or more.
That’s similar, but not exactly the same, as the way winnings are treated on electronic games. On slot machines, if you’re lucky enough to accumulate a lot of small wins, no tax form is required, even if the total exceeds $1,200. However, if you win $1,200 or more on one play, then the casino must have you sign a form before it pays you.
There’s another little wrinkle in casino player taxes. Tournaments are taxed as contests, and players must sign tax forms for winnings of $600 or more. If you win $1,000 on a slot machine, that’s below the $1,200 reporting threshold and there is no form to sign. However, if you win $1,000 in a slot tournament, that’s above the threshold for contests, and you do have to sign.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of John Grochowski