Nevada gaming is heating up. Casinos generated over $1.0 billion in July; this represents the largest earning since December 2013. In fact, revenues were up around the state with every gaming sector announcing increases.
While more and more people are visiting Nevada and gambling, not all games are created equal; some games have much better odds than others. One thing that is constant, however, is the fact that significant casino winnings, typically over $1,200, are subject to a 30% withholding tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you’re a non-U.S. resident and had 30% of your gaming winnings withheld by the IRS, you can reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings. And no one is more successful than Refund Management Services at returning taxable winnings to non-U.S. residents. In fact, we’ve never been refused an eligible refund.
Nevada Gaming Tops $1.0 Billion
Nevada casinos took a hit during the recession back in 2008 and 2009. Since then, gaming in Nevada has been steadily growing. In July, gaming revenues increased 10% with earnings topping $1.0 billion. This marks the third time Nevada has topped the $1.0-billion mark in three years, with July 2016 being the largest month for earnings since December 2013.1
The biggest gains came from the Las Vegas Strip, where earnings increased 17% to $613.0 million. The downtown areas of Las Vegas earned $42.0 million, a three percent increase. Casino gaming earnings in Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World, were up 11% at $56.0 million, while South Lake Tahoe earnings were up 20% at $28.0 million.
Sports games betting had its biggest July at $22.0 million, with $11.0 million being left behind at casinos. Slot revenue was up slightly at $600.0 million, while baccarat spiked 16.5% at $150.5 million. Blackjack revenue increased 40% to $114.0 million, while roulette was up over six percent at $37.6 million and craps earnings rose 12% to $34.0 million.
Not all game categories were winners. Three-card poker revenue fell 21% to $9.0 million while let it ride slid 29% to only $2.1 million. Keno was also down 10% to $2.1 million.
Beat Casino Games with the Best Odds
When it comes to playing casino games, some games have better odds than others. Before dropping your money, it’s important to understand what the odds and probabilities are for the different casino games. To do that, you need to understand what the house edge and payout percentage are.
The house edge refers to the casino’s profits expressed as a percentage of the original bet. By knowing the house edge, you can determine which games have better odds. For example, most casinos pay out $0.95 for every $1.00; this means the house edge is 2.5%. The normal house edge is two to three percent.
The payout percentage only applies to slot machines and is similar to the house edge in that it represents the return that players receive for every dollar played on a slot.
It might be intimidating to play against a dealer, but the fact of the matter is, table games provide the best odds in a casino.2
The best odds of winning at a casino are found at the blackjack table. The house edge for blackjack is just one percent. With blackjack, you’re just looking to beat the dealer without going over 21. On top of that, it’s just you against the dealer, not a cartel of professionals. Blackjack is also one of the best casino games for a big payout.
Craps is the second-best game for winning with odds at nearly 50-50. The house edge is roughly 1.2%, but sometimes it goes as low as 0.6%. Craps looks confusing but is relatively easy to understand.
Roulette is simple and pays well. You’re essentially betting on your favourite numbers and if your number sticks, you win. If you decide to bet on red or blacks, you have a nearly 50-50 chance of winning. In American casinos, there is an extra green 0 and 00 on the wheel. If you play just one number, it pays out 36 to one.
Casino Games with the Worst Odds
For obvious reasons, casinos don’t want you to know the games with the worst odds. But the games with the worst odds of winning are wheel of fortune and slot machines with a house edge of 10% or greater.3
Wheel of Fortune: 11.2%
Wheel of fortune also goes by the name big six wheel. A similar game at carnivals is called crowns and anchors. The wheel has 54 different segments and you win if the wheel lands on the segment you placed your bet on. Since there are 54 segments, your odds of winning are 54 to one. But because each of the 54 segments is different, the odds of winning a high payout are even smaller.
Slots: 1 in 49,836,032
Slots, one of the most popular casino games, also has the worst odds. Having said that, with slots, the more you bet, the higher your chances of winning. Betting the maximum on a penny slot, which is usually around $0.50 per spin, has better odds than if you bet $0.01. Further, penny slots have the worst odds; $1.00 and $5.00 slots have better odds.
U.S. Casino Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax
If you’re a non-U.S. resident and win a substantial amount of money at a casino, the IRS will withhold 30% from you. That’s because gaming winnings are considered income. If you happen to win $1,500 playing the slots, the casino will hand over $1,050. If you win $2,000 playing poker, you’ll only leave with $1,400. 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 Withheld Gaming Tax Back
If you’ve won a substantial amount of money at a casino, racetrack, lottery, or even gameshow, and had 30% of your winnings withheld by the IRS, RMS can help you reclaim a portion or all of your taxable winnings.
Founded by a Canadian chartered accountant, RMS is the most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider for non-U.S. residents.
Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest, processing and submitting your claim 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. Best of all, we’ve never been refused an eligible refund.
1. “Win Revenue Summary – July 2016,” Nevada Gaming Control Board web site, August 31, 2016; http://gaming.nv.gov/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=11417.
2. “What Casino Game Has The Highest Pay-Out? Which Game Has The Best Odds?” Bet O’Clock web site; http://betoclock.com/what-casino-game-has-the-highest-pay-out-which-game-has-the-best-odds-2/, last accessed September 16, 2016.
3. Matarese, J., “Don’t Waste Your Money: Best and worst casino game odds,” World Now web site; http://meredith.worldnow.com/story/22172946/dont-waste-your-money-best-and-worst-casino-game-odds, last accessed September 16, 2016.