Each year, around 23.5 million Canadians visit the United States and assist the U.S. economy by adding more than $22.0 billion in tourism. One of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for Canadian tourists is Florida.1
The number of Canadians visiting Florida continues to grow annually—from 1.6 million in 2002 to a record 4.0 million in 2014. To put that into perspective, that’s more than one in every 10 Canadians. That record will likely be broken in 2016.2
In the wintertime, the number of Canadians visiting Florida swells as snowbirds from Montreal, Quebec and the Greater Toronto Area head south to enjoy the warm, sunny, weather. A popular attraction for snowbirds from Quebec and eastern Canada includes casinos and poker rooms. Florida is home to a number of commercial and Indian casinos. Seven of the Indian casinos are owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida while another is owned and operated by the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.3
For Snowbirds who like to gamble when they’re vacationing in Florida, they need to understand that their winnings are subject to a 30% withholding tax. That’s because casino and poker winnings are considered income in the U.S., and the IRS wants its share. Fortunately, there is a way for Snowbirds from Quebec, Ontario, and the rest of the country to get a portion or all of those taxed winnings back.
Nine Best Florida Casinos for Canadians
Of its numerous casinos, there are a few that stand out more than others as hot spots for Canadians.
Big M Casino
Big M Casino is a 400-passenger casino ship that sails from Fort Myers Beach’s Moss Marina. The casino cruise departs at 10:30 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. and leaves again at 6:00pm to return at 11:30pm every Wednesday through Sunday. The casino has over 200 slots, and table games include Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, 3-Card Poker, and Let It Ride.4
Located in Miami Gardens, the Calder Casino has a 100,000-square foot gaming floor where you’ll find around 1,100 slots, and e-table games like Blackjack, Roulette, and the Lucky Big Wheel.5
The Casino at Dania Beach
The Casino at Dania Beach in South Florida has 900 Vegas-style slot machines and e-table games like Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps. It is also home to 24 table games, including No-Limit Texas Hold’em. You can also take in a live Jai Alai match.6
Just five kilometers from the Miami International Airport, Casino Miami is one of the city’s newest casinos. On the 40,000-square foot casino floor you’ll find 1,000 slot machines reminiscent of Las Vegas, a wide variety of electronic table games, and a Live Poker Room with 22 tables and dominos. You can also enjoy live Jai-Alai matches and simulcast betting.7
The Hialeah Park Race Track and Casino
The Hialeah Park Race Track and Casino is in Hialeah, just a short drive west of Miami. The casino is equipped with 850 slots and electronic games, including Blackjack and Roulette. In the private VIP Poker Room you’ll find 33 tables where you can play Texas Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, and Omaha Hi-Lo.8
Seminole Casino Immokalee
Just 35 minutes from Naples or Fort Myers and 90 minutes from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the Seminole Casino Immokalee covers 75,000 square feet. You’ll discover over 1,000 slot machines and 38 live table games, including Blackjack, Mini Baccarat, Three Card Poker, Spanish 21 and Mississippi Stud. A new six-table poker room was added in 2015.9
Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
Miccosukee Resort & Gaming in Miami is located just 25 minutes from downtown Miami, on the edge of the Florida Everglades and. The casino has roughly 70,000 square feet of gaming space where you’ll find 1, 900 gaming machines, 32 poker tables, and bingo. The casino also just launched its High Limit Gaming Area with 90 gaming machines that start from as low as $5 up to a maximum of $400.10
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is north of Miami and south of Fort Lauderdale. The 130,000-square foot casino has over 2,000 slots, over 100 table games, high-limit table rooms, high-limit slot rooms, VIP Plum Lounge, and over 40 tables of high-stakes poker.11
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the biggest casino in Florida. On the 190,000 square foot casino floor you can play on over 4,100 gaming machines and 154 table games. There is a 13,000 square foot high-limit slot room with over 200 games and a 50-table poker room.12
Non-U.S. Residents Subject to 30% Withholding Tax
If you are a non-U.S. resident and you win a significant amount of money at any of the casinos in Florida or anywhere else in the U.S, your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax. But, if you live in a country like Canada, which has signed a U.S. tax treaty, you may be eligible for a refund.
Some of the countries that do not have a U.S. tax treaty, but may still be eligible for a refund include: 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. However, based on a recent court case, winners from these countries may qualify for a refund if they meet certain criteria.
If you win a substantial amount gambling (typically over $1,200), your winnings are subject to a 30% withholding tax by the IRS. If you win $2,000 playing the slots, the casino will pay you $1,400. The IRS keeps the rest.
RMS is the Easiest, Fastest Way to Get Your Money Back
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. Only RMS has the One Simple Step<sup>TM</sup> process. Our customer service agents take care of the rest.
Once you provide us with complete documentation, your claim will be processed and we will submit it to the IRS. We’ve never been refused for an eligible refund.
1.“A Flock of Snowbirds and a Falling Loonie,” Observation by TD Economics, last accessed February 1, 2016; https://www.td.com/document/PDF/economics/special/Snowbirds.pdf.
2.“Research,” Visit Florida, last accessed Febryary 1, 2016; http://www.visitfloridamediablog.com/home/florida-facts/research/.
3.“Florida Indian Casinos List,” 500 Nations, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://500nations.com/Florida_Casinos_List.asp.
4.“Big M Casino Cruise,” World Casino Directory, last accessed February 1, 2016; https://www.worldcasinodirectory.com/casino/big-m-casino-2122
5.“Calder Casino and Race Course,” World Casino Directory, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://www.worldcasinodirectory.com/casino/calder-race-course-2123.
6.“The Casino at Dania Beach,” World Casino Directory, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://www.worldcasinodirectory.com/casino/dania-jai-alai-2166.
7.“Casino Miami,” Casino Miami web site, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://www.casinomiamijaialai.com/.
8.“Casino,” Hialeah Park Racing and Casino web site, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://hialeahparkcasino.com/.
9.“Seminole Casino Immokalee,” World Casino Directory, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://www.worldcasinodirectory.com/casino/seminole-gaming-palace-casino-2239.
10.“Miccosukee Resort and Gaming,” World Casino Directory, last accessed February 1, 2016; http://www.worldcasinodirectory.com/casino/miccosukee-resort-gaming-center-2183.
11.“Casino and Gaming,” Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood web site, last accessed February 1, 2016; https://www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com/.
12. “Casino and Gaming,” Seminole Hard Rock Tampa web site, last accessed February 1, 2016; https://www.seminolehardrocktampa.com/