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The Top 10 U.S. States for Gambling, Part 1

Slot machine winnings taxesMost Canadians will try some form of gaming at least once in their life. Those who like to travel south of the border might even try their hand gambling in one of the 23 U.S. states that currently have casinos.

Below is a list of the top five U.S. states for commercial gambling by revenue. The information does not include casinos on Native American reservations since they are technically not a part of the states. As a result, some states, which derive much of their casino revenue from Native American reservations, are not on the list.

U.S. Gaming Industry

The U.S. gaming industry has a profound impact on the U.S. economy and benefits the communities in which they operate as well as their employees. For example, the U.S. gaming industry contributes roughly $240 billion (CDN $310 billion) each quarter to the U.S. economy. That’s equivalent to the total state budgets of New York and Texas combined.1

Broken down, U.S. casinos, including those owned by Native American tribes, generate total revenue of more than $81.0 million. American gaming equipment makers, those who build table games, slot machines, and other products, generate nearly $6.0 billion in total revenue.

The gaming industry as a whole received more than $14.0 billion from consumers who spend money at restaurants, retail stores, hotels, and other businesses. The U.S. gaming industry also generates nearly $60.0 billion in payments to suppliers and $78.0 billion through gaming employees’ spending.

Speaking of which, the U.S. gaming industry supports more than 1.7 million jobs and generates $38.0 billion in tax revenues to local, state, and federal governments in the form of services including hospitals and schools.

Top 5 U.S. States for Commercial Gambling


Indiana’s 13 commercial casinos contribute $4.1 billion in economic activity. Indiana’s casinos are, for the most part, found either along Lake Michigan to the north or along the Ohio River in the lower part of the state. Indiana’s casinos include riverboats, traditional land-based casinos, and racetrack casinos with slots (or racinos). All riverboats and land-based casinos have a $3.00 admissions tax per person.2

Some of the most popular casinos in Indiana include Ameristar in East Chicago, Indiana with a 56,000-square-foot casino that has more than 1,700 slot and video poker games and 50 table games.3 The 15-storey Ameristar Casino Hotel has 288 guest rooms and connects directly with the casino.4

The Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg is one of the larger casinos in Indiana with more than 2,000 slot machines and 55 table games. As one of eight hosts for World Poker Tournaments, it also has one of the largest card rooms in the state with 19 poker tables.5


Louisiana, the fourth state to allow gambling, is home to 20 commercial casinos which contribute $4.7 billion in economic activity. Louisiana’s casinos include riverboats, land-based casinos, and racetrack casinos with slots and table games.6

There are casinos in just about every major city in Louisiana, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Lake Charles. Harrah’s New Orleans, near the riverfront, has the largest gaming floor in the state at 115,000 square feet. The casino has more than 1,700 slot machines, 100 casino tables, and more than 20 poker tables.7

L’Auberge du Lac is situated in and on Lake Charles in southern Louisiana, 75 miles west of Lafayette and 145 miles east of Houston. L’Auberge Lake Charles has a luxury spa, golf, shopping, fine dining, and a pool. The casino area is on a riverfront and has 1,600 slot machines, 70 table games, a high-limit poker area, and VIP bar and lounge area.8

New Jersey

New Jersey is home to Atlantic City, one of the most well-known cities for gambling in America (next to Las Vegas). New Jersey was the second state to legalize casinos in 1976 with the first casino opening in 1978. The state’s eight casinos contribute $7.05 billion in economic activity.9

When it comes to gaming in New Jersey, Bally’s Atlantic City comes out on top. Wandering around the 226,000-square-foot casino, you’ll discover 5,200 slot and video games, 320 table games, and 20 poker tables.10


Gambling in Pennsylvania is a relatively new pastime, with the first casino opening in 2007. In just a few short years, Pennsylvania has emerged as the second-most popular destination for gamblers. The 12 casinos in Pennsylvania collectively contribute $6.2 billion in economic activity to the state.11

Despite its short history, Pennsylvania is home to some of the country’s premier casinos and racetracks. SugarHouse Casino, located in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighbourhood, has a 45,000-square-foot casino with 3,000 slot machines, a large number of table games, and 24 poker tables.12

Located in the Poconos, the Mount Airy Casino Resort, is one of just two AAA 4 Diamond Casino Resorts in the state. The 62,000-square-foot casino features over 1,800 slot machines, more than 80 table games, and poker tables. The casino resort also features 188 hotel rooms, a spa and salon, four season pool, restaurants, nightclub, and 18-hole golf course.13


Not surprisingly, Nevada is the top destination for those who love to gamble. The state’s 263 commercial casinos contribute $53.1 billion in economic activity.14

It’s impossible to pick the top one or two casinos in the state. Each region of Nevada has its fair share of world-class casinos. Some of the most popular casinos on the Las Vegas strip include The Bellagio, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, and The Luxor Hotel & Casino.

Just off the Strip there are Palms and Palms Place, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, M Resort, Ravella Lake Las Vegas, and Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. And in Reno, you can enjoy the day at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, and John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

Whatever you’re looking for, Las Vegas has it.

U.S. Casino Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax

If you’ve visited the United States and won a significant amount of money gambling, you need to be aware of your country’s tax treaty laws with the United States. If you live in country that has not signed a U.S. tax treaty, your gaming and pari-mutuel winnings are subject to a 30% withholding tax.

Countries that do not have a U.S. tax treaty include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Mexico, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and UAE.

If you reside in any of these countries and win a substantial amount gambling (typically over $1,200) while visiting the United States, your winnings are subject to a 30% withholding tax by the IRS.

RMS is the Easiest, Fastest Way to Get Your Money Back

If you’ve been to the U.S. and had 30% of your winnings held back by the IRS, Refund Management Services 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. Only RMS has the One Simple StepTM 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. It can take a minimum of one year for the IRS to review the claim and for us to receive the refund.

We’ve never been refused for an eligible refund. Contact us today!

1. “Groundbreaking New Research Reveals Impressive Magnitude of U.S. Casino Gaming Industry,” Gettoknowgaming.org web site; http://www.gettoknowgaming.org/news/groundbreaking-new-research-reveals-impressive-magnitude-us-casino-gaming-industry
2. “Indiana,” Gettoknowgaming.org web site; http://www.gettoknowgaming.org/sites/default/files/AGA_FactSheet_Indiana_4.pdf
3. “Gaming at a glance,” Ameristar web site; http://ameristar.com/east-chicago/gaming-at-a-glance
4. “Hotel at a glance,” Ameristar web site; http://ameristar.com/east-chicago/hotel-at-a-glance
5. “Casino,” Hollywood Casino web site; http://www.hollywoodindiana.com/Casino
6. “Louisiana,” Gettoknowgaming.org web site; http://www.gettoknowgaming.org/sites/default/files/AGA_FactSheet_Louisiana_3.pdf
7. “Casino,” Harrah’s New Orleans web site; https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-new-orleans/casino
8. “Casino,” L’Auberge Casino Resort web site; https://www.llakecharles.com/casino/
9. “New Jersey,” Gettoknowgaming.org web site; http://www.gettoknowgaming.org/sites/default/files/AGA_FactSheet_NewJersey_4.pdf
10. “Bally’s Atlantic City Casino,” Bally’s Atlantic City Casino web site; https://www.caesars.com/ballys-ac/casino
11. “Pennsylvania,” Gettoknowgamning.org web site; http://www.gettoknowgaming.org/sites/default/files/AGA_FactSheet_Pennsylvania_3.pdf
12. “Casino,” SugarHouse Casino web site; https://www.sugarhousecasino.com/casino/table-games
13. “Casino,” Mount Airy Casino Resort web site; http://www.mountairycasino.com/play/casino/
14. “Nevada,” Gettoknowgaming.org web site; http://www.gettoknowgaming.org/sites/default/files/AGA_FactSheet_Nevada_3.pdf

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