If you love to hit the casinos and don’t want to spend time in Las Vegas, it might be time to try out Mississippi. August 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of casino gaming in Mississippi and, outside of Las Vegas, Mississippi is home to the biggest cluster of casinos. In fact, there are over 30 casinos in Mississippi, including 12 along the 130 km corridor that borders the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether you visit the Mississippi Gulf Coast to enjoy the summer sun and avoid the winters in Ontario and Quebec or to enjoy some gambling, it’s important to remember that your casino winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax by the IRS.
When it comes to reclaiming a portion or all of your withheld winnings, no one is more successful than Refund Management Services (RMS).
Gaming in Mississippi
A special event at the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi on August 3, 2016, kicked off a year-long party celebrating the 25th anniversary of legalized casino gaming in Mississippi.1
The Isle of Capri Casino in Harrison County was the first casino to open its doors for business in Mississippi back on August 1, 1992. That may not sound like a huge milestone, but before then, only a handful of states had casinos.
After modest beginnings and great expectations, gaming revenue in Mississippi is expected to reach $6.5 billion by 2017. That’s enough to fund Mississippi’s budget for an entire year.2 Since 1992, Mississippi casinos have generated $53.0 billion in revenue. Legalized sports betting would help generate even more money.3
The casino industry has changed a lot since 1992. Riverboats have been replaced by buildings floating on water and moored to shore. Casinos added hotels, spas, and entertainment. And, after Hurricane Katrina (2005) wiped out the Gulf Coast casino industry, casinos were allowed to move 800 feet inland.
In 2015, a number of new casinos opened their doors in Mississippi, including the the Silver Slipper and the Scarlet Pearl Casino and Hotel. Meanwhile, the Island View Casino completed a $60.0 million renovation and the IP Casino Resort Spa completed a $70.0 million renovation. In 2019, the Foxwoods Resort Casino at Biloxi Pointe is slated to open, and new properties are expected to open on the back bay of the coast in the next 10 to 12 years.
Top Casinos in Mississippi
Below is a list of some of the top casinos for those who like the idea of gaming on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico more than on the dry deserts of Nevada.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi
Would you expect anything less? When you check-in to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi you get a free music download.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi is 90 minutes east of New Orleans and overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. The Hard Rock Casino boasts 1,300 slots, including 500 video slots. You’ll also find 50 tables were you can play Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, and Mississippi Stud. The VIP Lounge, which is only open Friday through Sunday, has a private full-service bar, hors d’oeuvres, a fireplace, and plasma screen TVs.4
The Hard Rock Hotel features 479 hotel rooms, a spa and pool, casual and fine dining, and nightly entertainment.
Scarlet Pearl Casino and Hotel
The Scarlet Pearl Casino and Hotel is an upscale resort overlooking the Bay of Biloxi. The $300.0 million project opened in December of 2015 and is the newest casino along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The casino, spanning more than 60,000 square feet, has over 1,300 slot machines, 45 table games, an elite high-limit (Pearl Cove) room with 53 slots and six table games, and a poker room with 10 tables.5
The 15-storey Scarlet Pearl Hotel has 300 rooms, a pool, and a spa. The Scarlet Pearl also has dining options for every budget, live entertainment, and an event centre.
Beau Rivage Resort and Casino
The Beau Rivage is an upscale waterfront resort that is a short five-minute walk from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The casino covers 80,000 square feet and has 2,100 slots that take denominations from $0.01 to $100.00. Enjoy free cocktails as you play Craps, Roulette, and Mini Baccarat. There are also smoke-free poker room with 16 tables where you can play Texas Hold’em, 7-Card Stud, and Omaha High.6
At the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino you’ll also find a 1,740-room hotel, a salon, a spa, shopping, golf, a pool, an arcade, dining, and entertainment.
Gulf Coast Casino Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax
If you visit Mississippi and the Gulf Coast (or any other casino in the U.S.) and win a significant amount of money—typically over $1,200—your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). That’s because casino winnings and other games of chance (racetrack, casino, or game shows) are considered income. And the IRS wants its share.
If you win $1,200 playing the slots, the casino will pay you $840.00. The IRS keeps the rest. 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. However, 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 RMS.
RMS, the Easiest Way to Get Your 30% Withholding Tax Back
If you’ve visited a casino in Mississippi, or anywhere else in the U.S., and had 30% of your casino winnings held back by the IRS, RMS 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 non-U.S. residents. Over the years, RMS has helped thousands of people around the world recover taxes on their U.S. gaming wins. We’ve also never been refused an eligible refund.
Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest: processing and submitting it to the IRS. It can take a minimum of one year for the IRS to review the claim and for RMS to receive the refund.
1. Morgan, A.,“Mississippi celebrating 25 years of casino gaming,” World Casino News, August 4, 2016; https://news.worldcasinodirectory.com/mississippi-celebrating-25-years-of-casino-gaming-32042.
2. “Mississippi Casinos on Pace to Generate $6.5 Billion in Gaming Tax Revenue by 25th Anniversary in 2017,” American Gaming Association, August 3, 2016; https://www.americangaming.org/newsroom/press-releasess/mississippi-casinos-pace-generate-65b-gaming-tax-revenue-25th-anniversary.
3. Perez, M., “Biloxi gets a head start on 25 years of casinos,” Sun Herald, July 29, 2016; http://www.sunherald.com/news/business/casino-gambling/article92604452.html.
4. “Casino and Promotions,” Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, last accessed August 11, 2016; http://www.hrhcbiloxi.com/casino-and-promotions.htm.
5. “Promotions,” Scarlet Pearl Hotel & Casino, last accessed August 11, 2016; http://www.scarletpearlcasino.com/promotions.
6. “Casino,” Beau Rivage Hotel & Casino, last accessed August 11, 2016; http://beaurivage.com/casino/.