Illinois continues to be one of the top travel destinations for Canadians. Whether it’s the Magnificent Mile, Route 66, Art Institute of Chicago, wine trails, Wrigley Field, or Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, there is plenty to do and see in the Prairie State. With 10 commercial casinos and five horseracing tracks, Illinois is one of the top 10 states for gaming in the U.S., while Chicago routinely ranks in the top five American towns for gambling.
If you’re one of the millions of Canadians who visit Illinois annually and are planning on spending some of your time in one of the state’s casinos, you need to understand that your winnings could be subject to a 30% withholding tax by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
As Canada’s most reliable and experienced gaming and casino tax refund provider for non-U.S. residents, Refund Management Services (RMS) can help you reclaim a portion or all of your withheld winnings.
Top Casinos in Illinois
Gambling in Illinois may have been popular with Al Capone during the Prohibition years, but it wasn’t actually legalized until 1990, with the first casino (Alton Belle) opening in 19911
Unlike most other states, Illinois’ casinos only include riverboats. While all boats had to initially cruise, the law was changed in 1999, permitting riverboats to be permanently moored.
Casinos in Illinois regularly rate as some of the most popular places to gamble. If you love to gamble and can’t make it to Nevada or Las Vegas, Illinois is an excellent alternative.
Below is a list of some of the top casinos in Illinois.
Hollywood Casino Joliet
The Hollywood Casino Joliet, which is located just 35 minutes outside of Chicago, is the biggest casino in the state. The Hollywood Casino Joliet opened its doors in 2010 and continues to be one of the top gaming destinations in the state.
The 50,000-square-foot casino has over 1,100 video slots, reel slots, and progressive slots. You’ll also find over 20 table games where you can play blackjack, craps, and roulette. If you like poker, you can play live poker every day or go big in the high-limit gaming area.2
The Hollywood Casino Joliet also has a hotel, fine dining, and the Hollywood Stadium Sports Bar.
Rivers Casino Des Plaines
The Rivers Casino is in Des Plaines, a northern suburb of Chicago. The casino opened its doors in July 2011 and at almost 150,000 square feet, it boasts the biggest casino floor in the state.
At the Rivers Casino Des Plaines, you’ll find over 1,000 slots in denominations ranging from $0.01 to $100 and nearly 50 table games featuring blackjack, Spanish 21, craps, roulette, baccarat, Texas Hold’em, and pai gow poker.3
If you’re looking for high limits, look no further—at Rivers Casino you’ll find some of the best in the country, including 100-times odds and up to $25,000 max odds on craps, $500 any way to the number of roulette, and a $100,000 max bet on baccarat with a dragon bonus side bet.
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino overlooks Peoria Lake in central Illinois. The casino has more than 1,000 slots and 24 table games where you can play blackjack, 21+3, craps, roulette, 3-card poker, Mississippi stud, mini-baccarat, let it ride, Omaha Hold’em poker, and big-6 wheel.4
The property also contains a 202-room hotel with a fitness center, restaurants, a bar and lounge, and live entertainment.
Grand Victoria Casino Elgin
The Grand Victoria Casino Elgin is a riverboat casino in Elgin, located about 65 km west of Chicago. The casino covers approximately 30,000 square feet and you can play on roughly 1,100 slots and approximately 30 table games (blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card, Mississippi stud, or baccarat).5
The casino also has five restaurants, a lounge, and seasonal entertainment venues. There is no hotel at the Grand Victoria Casino Elgin, but there are plenty of places to stay nearby.
Illinois Gaming Winnings Subject to 30% Withholding Tax
If you’ve visited Illinois or any other state in the U.S. and won a significant amount of money at a casino (or betting on the horses, on the lottery, or on a game show), your winnings may have been subject to a 30% withholding tax.
Unlike in Canada, where winnings from games of chance are not taxed, in the U.S., they are. Winnings over $1,200 are taxed by the IRS at a rate of 30%. What that means is, if you won $2,000 on the slots or playing bingo, the casino will only pay out $1,400. The rest goes to the IRS. 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 been to 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.
RMS was founded by a Canadian chartered accountant in 1998 and since then has become 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. We’ve never been refused an eligible refund! It can take a minimum of one year for the IRS to review the claim and for RMS to receive the refund.
1. “Illinois Compiled Statutes,” Illinois General Assembly web site; http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1399&ChapterID=25.
2. “Casino,” Hollywood Casino Joliet web site; http://www.hollywoodcasinojoliet.com/Casino.
3. “Casino,” Rivers Casino Des Plaines web site; https://www.riverscasino.com/desplaines/casino#sm.000or02dk1c79covwdt19tag6jkk8.
4. “Play,” Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino web site; http://www.paradicecasino.com/play.
5. “The Casino at GVC,” Grand Victoria Casino Elgin web site; http://www.grandvictoriacasino.com/casino/.