Maybe you’ll get lucky one night and hit the coveted jackpot. How do you claim your prize money? Find out more here.
How to deal with casino winnings
Imagine yourself playing and betting on slots or table games for hours trying to win back your initial deposit, or even more fortunate, to have it returned with some gain. Then, out of nowhere, in a strike of luck at slots or at baccarat, you hit it right and win big. And now you’re left with the question: “how do I keep all this money?” Well, the worst thing you can do is be tempted to keep it on hand as card hold cash where you can end up blowing all of it in a few days time, or worse, in the same night alone. Casinos will do whatever they can legally to take back that cash. So whether it’s offering you a hotel room upgrade or more drinks on the house, everything leads to the fact that they want you to stay longer so you can keep playing and betting your winnings until they’ve recovered all of it.
So with that in mind, it’s best to deposit a large sum of it to your bank account where it can be safely stored. away from any temptations you may encounter. Your winnings can either be given to you in the form of cash or check depending on your preference and on the casino’s policies. If possible, a wire transfer may also be an existing form of claiming winnings for the casino. And if this is the case, then wiring your winnings to your account seems like the safest option to keep your money intact.
Choosing the best payout method
When you do win, and win big, don’t expect to receive the full amount. That’s right. Casino winnings are subjected to certain tax policies depending on the state and country you’re in. In the USA, a third of your winnings normally end up as tax payment to the government. Unfortunately, there’s no escaping this tax in casino-ripe territories like Las Vegas. So, if you do win big, you have about two options for the payout: either you choose to take all the winnings as a lump sum or you take it in structured installments.
While taking the lump sum at one go is tempting, it can have some negative effects down the line. Players who tend to take the lump sum have higher risks of spending it unwisely. However, choosing to receive it as a lump sum does have its benefits. This is especially advantageous for emergencies that require large amounts of money like medical bills or tuition fees. For taxation, a lump sum payment is taxed as ordinary income which is paid only at one go.
The lump sum option, although promises the advantage of immediate payment, also poses a large disadvantage to the winner. Because of taxation policies, receiving the sum in its entirety also requires payment of its taxes all at once in the same year it is dispensed. Having said this, only 50 to 60 percent of the total winnings actually ever end up in the winner’s pockets. That percentage can change depending on either the current prime rate or the formulated rate from the licensee’s chosen U.S. Treasury securities.
Also called an annuity, this method of payout is given in installments as a structured arrangement between the winner and the casino. Now, if you choose to go down this road, expect committing to a long-term system where you’ll get paid your winnings, or rather, what’s left of it after it’s taxed out, at an annual rate. The benefit to this structured plan is that you or your family are guaranteed a steady amount of income in a span of years. And mind you, these plans can take decades to dispense all the winnings. The reason for it taking so long to disburse is because casinos pay the minimum amount each year.
While opting to get your winnings in an annual fixed payment plan, there are downsides to it. Other than receiving the minimum amount that a casino is willing to give annually, the payment given each year is subject to a myriad of variables that could depreciate its value. Inflation is a very real occurrence and quickly lessens the value of a dollar, meaning the value of the sum given to you this year may lessen next year. The annual payment you receive is also subjected to other forms of depreciation like amiss opportunities such as investments you could have purchased or deposited an amount in insurance or a similar interest-generating account.
Ways a casino will give winnings
We’ve talked about the payout method casinos tend to offer their winners. Well, for larger amounts in five to six figures, they normally allow a few months for the winners to decide whether to take home the amount as a lump sum or as an annuity. But let’s talk about how you can receive it, whether through cold hard cash, a check, or wire transfer.
To how you’ll be receiving your winnings will depend mostly on casino policy. Smaller wins at about $1000 and below are easily encashed. However, larger sums may pose a problem if you request the winnings in cash because of certain money laundering policies along with taxation policies. Although some casinos prefer you take your winnings as cash as a psychological move where you’ll most probably end up spending on more games.
Having cash on hand is definitely a temptation to continue playing so other players ask for their winnings in the form of a check. But then again, check with the casino first regarding giving the winnings on the spot in the form of a check. Others will even mail that check to their home as soon as getting it to prevent any losses or mishaps from happening.
Then again, the method that makes sense the most would be to wire winnings straight into the player’s bank account. Most casinos are fine with this unless they have strict policies regarding so. The only downside for this is if you were a tourist and happened to win in a foreign casino. You may not be able to request your winnings to be wire transferred to your local bank.