Seattle Tourism Reaches All-Time High
For those looking to enjoy a hike in the mountains, whale watching, great cultural events, and gambling — but don’t want to travel to Las Vegas — Seattle is the place to be.
Home to more than 668,000 residents, Seattle is the largest city in the State of Washington and Pacific Northwest region of the United States. And thanks to the strong, local economy, vibrant cultural and arts community, events and festivals, nightlife, tourist attractions, and natural settings, Seattle is the fastest-growing major city in the entire country.1
By the looks of it, more and more people are discovering what Seattle has to offer. Known as the Emerald City (a reference to the region’s lush evergreen forests), Seattle welcomed a record 19.2 million overnight visitors last year. That’s a 3.7% increase over the 18.5 million who visited Seattle in 2013. The national average growth is 3.0%.2
Visitors spent $3.4 billion in 2014, a 6.4% increase over 2013. Specifically, spending was up in all categories, including lodging, food and beverage, retail, recreation, local transportation, and airline flights.
For those who like to gamble, there are small casinos in the city limits of Seattle. But just half an hour outside of the Seattle area are a number of large, Las Vegas-style Indian casinos. And it’s more than worth the trip.
Seattle Gambling Casinos
Snoqualmie Casino is located just half an hour east of Seattle and set in the small town of Snoqualmie. Nearby are the Snoqualmie Falls, a popular tourist attraction, and the ever-popular Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom.
The large 51,000-square-foot Snoqualmie Casino has 1,700 state-of-the-art slot machines and 55 classic gaming tables where you can play blackjack, craps, Spanish 21 or roulette, baccarat, or fortune pai gow. Snoqualmie Casino has an exclusive five-table poker room. It also has two entertainment venues and offers fine dining and casual dining along with four different lounges.3
Muckleshoot Casino is south of the Emerald City in Auburn and provides some of the best gaming in the state. Open 24 hours a day, Muckleshoot Casino has 328,000 square feet of gaming space featuring 3,100 video gaming machines, more than 100 table and poker games, keno, and bingo.4
Muckleshoot Casino also has nine restaurants, six bars, shopping, live entertainment, a 5,000-square-foot ballroom, and 3,000 square feet of meeting space.
Tulalip Resort Casino
Tulalip Resort Casino is just half an hour north of Seattle in Tulalip. The resort has a 370-room hotel, with 18 two-room suites and five specialty suites. You can also book an appointment at the 14,000-square-foot T-Spa.5
The actual Tulalip Resort Casino rivals almost anything in Las Vegas. With 200,000 square feet of gaming space, the Tulalip Casino has more than 2,200 slots, 50 tables (blackjack, four-card poker progressive, fortune pai gow progressive, EZ baccarat, let it ride progressive, roulette, craps fire, and craps), a designated poker room, and bingo.
Skagit Valley Casino Resort
Located in Bow, Washington, just off Interstate 5 at Exit 236, Skagit Valley Casino Resort is just half an hour from the Canadian border and a little more than an hour north of Seattle. The Skagit Valley casino’s 64,000-square-foot gaming space features more than 900 gaming machines and 12 table games. The property also has three restaurants.6
The Skagit Hotel offers 103 rooms, including 28 suites, and is adjacent to the casino. Amenities include an indoor heated pool with retractable roof, dry sauna, hot tub, and fitness room.
Across from the resort, you’ll also find the Skagit Ridge Hotel with scenic views of the North Cascades and Skagit Valley. The hotel has 40 guest rooms and one executive suite, some with complimentary continental breakfast, 24-hour casino shuttle, and 2,000 square feet of event space.
Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa
The Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa is an upscale resort just 10 minutes east of the town of Ferndale, Washington. The casino is also half an hour south of the Canadian border in Blaine and less than two hours north of Seattle.7
Silver Reef offers more than 50,000 square feet of gaming, dining, and entertainment in a bright and spacious setting. The casino has 1,200 slots and 20 Las Vegas-style table games, including blackjack, craps, fortune pai gow, roulette, and ultimate Texas hold ‘em.
The resort features 10 restaurants, including a buffet, steakhouse, Latin American cantina, and cigar lounge. There is also a luxury spa and live entertainment.
After a long day of winning at the casino, you can relax in one of Silver Reef’s 105 award-winning rooms and suites with views of Mount Baker. Upgraded rooms have jetted tubs, mini fridges and wet bars, plus access to a private lounge.
Taxable Games Subject to 30% Withholding Tax in Seattle
In the United States, winnings over $1,200, whether from slots, gambling, poker, pari-mutuel, or sports betting, are considered taxable income by the IRS and are subject to a 30% withholding tax. For example, if you win $3,000 on the slots, you only receive $2,100 as the IRS gets to keep the rest.
But not all games are subject to the 30% withholding tax. Some games, like Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Big6 Wheel are not taxed. You get to keep everything you win.
Due to individual tax treaties, the gambling income won by those living in certain countries is not taxable by the U.S. Some of the countries that have signed a gaming treaty tax exemption include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Residents of Malta have their winnings taxed at 10%. All other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and UAE, are subject to a 30% withholding tax.
So what can you do if you happen to have 30% of your winnings withheld when visiting Seattle?
RMS is the Easiest, Fastest Way to Get Your Gaming Earnings Back
If you’re a Canadian or non-U.S. resident who has visited Seattle and had 30% of your gaming winnings held back by the IRS, Refund Management Services (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 Canadian and non-U.S. residents. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest. Your refund cheque gets mailed out to you as soon as your refund is approved. We’ve never been refused for an eligible refund. Contact us today!
1. Balk, G., “Census: Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the U.S.,” The Seattle Times web site, May 22, 2014; http://blogs.seattletimes.com/fyi-guy/2014/05/22/census-seattle-is-the-fastest-growing-big-city-in-the-u-s/.
2. Markovich, M., “Report: Seattle tourism reaches all-time high,” Komonews.com web site, May 6, 2015; http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Report-Seattle-tourism-reaches-all-time-high-302865331.html.
3. Snoqualmie Casino web site; http://www.snocasino.com/, last accessed May 28, 2015.
4. Muckleshoot Casino web site; http://muckleshootcasino.com/, last accessed May 28, 2015.
5. Tulalip Resort Casino web site; http://www.tulalipresortcasino.com/, last accessed June 8, 2015.
6. Skagit Valley Casino Resort web site; https://theskagit.com/, last accessed June 8, 2015.
7. Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa web site; http://silverreefcasino.com/, last accessed June 8, 2015.