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March Madness Wagering Hits Record Levels

tax-refund-for-canadiansMarch Madness is the biggest college sporting event in the United States. Each March, 68 college basketball teams take part in the single-elimination tournament until there is just one team left standing. But March Madness isn’t just enjoyed from the bleachers. This year, an estimated $9.2 billion will be bet on the tournament. If you’re a non-U.S. resident and win betting on March Madness in Nevada, your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax.

March Madness Tips Off March 17

The origins of what is now called “March Madness” can be traced back to 1939 when the National Association of Basketball Coaches played its first men’s college basketball tournament to determine the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Division I Basketball champions. The 1939 tournament involved eight schools with Oregon winning the first title over Ohio State.1

Over the years, the tournament has evolved, and today, 68 teams vie for the national championship in the single-elimination tournament. The winner will be crowned on Monday, April 4 with the winner-take-all final held at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.2

In 2015, an average 11.3 million people watched the NCAA tournament—the highest viewership for the tournament since 1993. March Madness isn’t just enjoyed by basketball fans packing the stands.

Betting on March Madness has become a sport of its own. Each year, millions of people from around the world join a pool, fill out a bracket, and hope to win. Despite all the betting taking place at office pools and the like, Nevada is the only state that allows full-fledged sporting betting.

Record Wagering Expected for 2016 March Madness

In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), essentially banning sports betting in most of the U.S.3 Four states that previously allowed different forms of sports betting were grandfathered in: Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon.

Today, only Nevada permits traditional sports betting on many college and professional sports through licensed bookmakers.

This year, Americans are expected to bet a record $9.2 billion on March Madness. To put that into perspective, that translates into $1.30 for every person in the world and $38.00 for every adult in the United States.

While some of those bets will take place in Nevada, most will take place in the form of unregulated channels (office pools, offshore sites, etc). Of that $9.2 billion, only about $262 million will come from legal betting at Nevada sportsbooks.4

Best Sportsbooks in Las Vegas

If you weren’t fortunate enough to actually snag tickets to March Madness, the next best thing is to watch the start of the tournament in Las Vegas.

Westgate Las Vegas Resort Casino

Located in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort Casino you’ll find the world’s largest race and sportsbook. Covering 25,000 square feet, the SuperBook® at Westgate has more than 400 seats, 19 wagering windows, and roughly 30 large viewing screens. The 240-foot wide, 20-foot tall HD video screen is the largest indoor LED video wall. It also has the highest resolution screens in Las Vegas.5

MGM Grand Sports Book

At the Race & Sports Book at MGM Grand in Las Vegas you’ll find seating for 104 guests and 60 screens streaming simultaneous sporting events from around the world.6

If you’re a high-roller, you can take advantage of one of the four sky boxes. Unique to Las Vegas, the 325-square foot enclosures can host up to 10 guests and are equipped with plasma TVs and state-of-the-art surround-sound audio.

Red Rock Casino Sports Book

You can watch sports 24/7 at Red Rock Casino’s Race and Sports Group. With 206 seats and over 200 personal televisions in the VIP race section, you can watch whatever you like. In the main area, you can catch all of the March Madness action of the 96-foot video wall.7

Has the IRS Withheld 30% of Your Gaming Winnings?

If you are a non-U.S. resident and you win a significant amount of money (typically over $1,200) betting on March Madness, the Super Bowl, or any other sporting event in Nevada, your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you win $3,000 betting on the first round of March Madness, the casino sportsbook will pay you $2,100—the IRS keeps the rest. In the U.S, money won at sportsbook, the casino, the lottery, or on a game show is considered income by the IRS and needs to be taxed. But, if you live in a country like Canada, which has signed a U.S. tax treaty, you may be eligible for a refund.

There are a number of countries that currently do not have a U.S. tax treaty, but might still qualify. If you reside in any of the following countries, you could still be eligible for a refund: Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the U.A.E. 

To see if you meet the criteria and are eligible to get some or all of your withholding tax back, contact Refund Management Services.

Using RMS is the Easiest Way to Get Your Winnings Back!

If you’ve visited the U.S. and had 30% of your gaming winnings withheld by the IRS, the tax refund experts at Refund Management Services (RMS) can help you recoup a portion or all of your taxable winnings.

RMS was founded by a Canadian Chartered Accountant in 1998 and is Canada’s most experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider. We at RMS have helped thousands of people just like you recover taxes on their U.S. gaming wins. Best of all, we’ve never been refused an eligible refund.

Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process with an easy online form to fill out. Just complete the form and our customer service agents take care of the rest; processing and submitting it to the IRS. Your refund cheque gets mailed out to you as soon as your refund is approved.

Contact RMS today by calling our toll-free number at 1-888-272-5559 or by emailing us at [email protected].


1.“Championship History,” NCAA web site, last accessed March 21, 2016; http://www.ncaa.com/history/basketball-men/d1.
2. “March Madness 2016,” NCAA web site, March 21, 2016; http://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/article/2016-03-17/march-madness-2016-television-times-livestreams-and-schedule.
3. “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection,” U.S. Government Publishing Office web site, last accessed March 21, 2016; https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-106/pdf/STATUTE-106-Pg4227.pdf.
4. “March Madness Betting to Total $9.2 Billion This Year,” American Gaming Association web site, March 14, 2016; https://www.americangaming.org/newsroom/press-releasess/march-madness-betting-total-92-billion-year.
5. “Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook,” Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino web site, last accessed March 21, 2016; https://www.westgatedestinations.com/nevada/las-vegas/westgate-las-vegas-hotel-casino/casino/race-sports-book.
6. “Race and Sports,” MGM Grand web site, last accessed March 21, 2016; https://www.mgmgrand.com/en/casino/race-sports-book.html.
7. “Race and Sports Book,” Red Rock Casino, Resort, and Spa web site, last accessed March 21, 2016; https://redrock.sclv.com/Gaming/Race-and-Sports-Book.aspx.

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