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Detroit Casino Tax Refund for Tourists

Detroit Motor City Attracts Record Number of Tourists

With a population approaching 690,000, Detroit is the biggest city in Michigan and the largest city that borders Canada. While the city’s population is small relative to other major metropolitans, it is estimated that 46 million people live within a 300-mile (480-km) radius of Metro Detroit.

It is estimated that more than 15 million people visit Metro Detroit annually. Closer to home, the Ambassador Bridge is the busiest Canada-U.S. border crossing with more than four million cars and two million trucks travelling across it annually.1

In 2014, out-of-state visitors spent a record $1.2 billion in Michigan.2 Some of the most popular attractions to see when visiting Detroit include: the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (the fifth-largest fine arts museum in the United States), the Detroit Zoo, the Motown Historic Museum, Comerica Park, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, the Guardian Building, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, Eastern Market, Palmer Woods, and Sherwood Forest.

Detroit is also one of the largest American destinations to offer casino resort hotels. In 1996, Detroit voters approved casino gambling. Specifically, this approval was so that three casinos could be built within the city limits.3 The three casinos are the MGM Grand, Greektown, and MotorCity.

Detroit’s Three Gambling Casinos

MGM Grand Detroit

The MGM Grand Detroit is located in downtown Detroit, near all major sporting and entertainment venues and just 20 minutes from the Detroit Metro Airport. The MGM Grand Detroit also has a 401-room hotel, spa, restaurants (including Wolfgang Puck Steak and Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina), upscale shopping, and a VIP nightclub.4

The 100,000-square-foot casino has nearly 4,000 slots and video poker machines and 90 table games, including poker, blackjack, baccarat, big six, craps, progressive pai gow poker, roulette, seven-card stud, Texas hold ’em, and two-way monte. The MGM Grand Detroit is home to the city’s premier non-smoking poker room where visitors can play seven-card stud, Omaha hi-lo, and limit and no-limit hold ‘em.

Greektown Casino Hotel

Greektown Casino Hotel is a casino/hotel complex centered in Detroit’s Greektown Historic District. The 30-storey, 400-room offering of guest rooms and suites is, as the company says, the perfect place to relax and recharge after a night on the town. Greektown Casino is also home to three restaurants and the nightclub, Asteria.5

The 100,000-square-foot gaming center has roughly 3,000 slots and video poker machines that take denominations from $0.01 to $100.00. The casino also has a large number of gaming tables where you can play blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker. Greektown Casino Hotel also has a designated poker room featuring 12 tables, numerous plasma TVs, and complimentary snacks and drinks. Some of the games offered are limit Texas hold ’em, no limit Texas hold ’em, pot limit round X round half Omaha/half, pot limit Omaha HI or HI/LO, and limit Omaha hi and Omaha hi-lo.

MotorCity Casino Hotel

MotorCity Casino Hotel opened its doors in December 1999. The car-themed hotel/casino complex has a luxury hotel with 400 guest rooms and suites, a 13,000-square-foot spa, a live theatre with a capacity for 2,400 people, and 67,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.6

The 100,000-square-foot casino has approximately 3,000 slot and video machines, including traditional reel games and the newest five-reel and video games, all available in denominations ranging from $0.01 to $100.00. MotorCity Casino Hotel has 59 table games, including blackjack, craps, roulette, mini-baccarat, progressive pai gow poker, and ultimate Texas hold ’em, and two poker rooms.

Taxable Games Subject to 30% Gambling Tax in Detroit

In the United States, winnings over $1,200, whether from slots, gambling, poker, pari-mutuel, and sports betting are considered taxable income by the IRS and are subject to a 30% withholding tax. For example, if you win $3,000 in Detroit, the IRS takes $900.00, meaning you only get to take home $2,100.

Some games that are not subject to this 30% withholding tax are baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, and big ­6 wheel. Detroit tourists playing these games get to keep everything they win.

Due to individual tax treaties, the gambling income won by those living in certain countries is not taxable by the U.S., including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Tourists from Malta have just 10% of their winnings withhead, while all other countries are subject to the standard 30% withholding tax. Luckily, there’s a way to get this money back.

Get Your Gaming Earnings Back with RMS

If you’ve visited Detroit and had 30% of your gaming winnings held back by the IRS, Refund Management Services (RMS), with our One Simple StepTM program, can help you reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings.

Founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1998, RMS is the most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider for Canadian and non-U.S. residents gambling in Detroit, Michigan. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest, and your refund cheque gets mailed out to you as soon as your refund is approved. Contact us today!


  1. Battagello, D., “Truck traffic down seven per cent at Ambassador Bridge,” The Windsor Star web site, January 3, 2014; http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/truck-traffic-down-seven-per-cent-at-ambassador-bridge.
  1. Lane, A., “Pure Michigan attracted 4 million travelers – Spending $1.2B – from outside state in 2013,” Crain’s web site, March 11, 2014; http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20140311/NEWS/140319959/pure-michigan-attracted-4-million-travelers-spending-1-2b-from.
  1. “Michigan Casino Gambling Act, Proposal E (1996),” Ballotpedia web site; http://ballotpedia.org/Michigan_Casino_Gambling_Act,_Proposal_E_%281996%29, last accessed May 28, 2015.
  1. MGM Grand Detroit web site; http://mgmgranddetroit.com/, last accessed May 28, 2015.
  1. Greektown Casino-Hotel web site; http://www.greektowncasino.com/, last accessed May 28, 2015.
  1. MotorCity Casino Hotel web site; http://www.motorcitycasino.com/Home, last accessed May 28, 2015.

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