What Happens If You Win A Million Dollars At The Casino?

Whenever we visit a casino, we all secretly want to win. And not just win a few thousands dollars but make it to the big money.

What Happens If You Win A Million Dollars At The Casino?

But what happens if you win a million dollars at the casino? It’s likely that a casino staff member will check the machine first. If all is okay, then they will discuss payout options with you.

Before you can start spending your money, there are a few things you need to know about what happens if you win a lot of money at the casino.

Here is our guide on the things that can happen if you crack the jackpot.

What Happens If You Win At A Casino?

Each casino has its own rules and procedures in place for what happens if someone wins, from smaller sums to a million dollars.

A Casino Worker Will Check The Machine And Your ID

As casinos handle large sums of money, they also have strict rules on when they pay out.

The moment you see that you won power, the slot machine or anywhere else in a casino, a casino worker will come over to you to verify your win.

They will ask for your ID. While non-US citizens can also win casino money, they will be likely taxed at a different rate, and the casino needs to be aware of this.

If you don’t have your ID with you, then don’t worry. The casino will keep the money until you can provide an ID. They are, by law, required to hold the money for years, if required.

The casino employee will also check the slot machine or video recordings to ensure that your win is legal and above board.

Payouts

Once everything has been checked and the casino accept your win, they will ask you how you want to receive your money.

With smaller casino wins, they are typically paid cash (see also “How To Win At The Casino With Only $20“). Wins up to $25,000 can be paid out in cash or as a check.

However, a million dollar and all larger sums of money can be paid as either lump sum or as annuity into your bank account.

This varies depending on the game you gambled on and the location of the casino.

Some games allow you to choose an annuity option where you receive the money in installments, while other games are paid as lump sum.

You have between 60 and 90 days to choose how you want your money to be paid. 

If you are only given one option by the casino, then only one payout option is available for this type of game.

Wait For Your Money

It can take some time for your money to get to your bank account after your big win. The casino will need to go through different procedures to verify your win.

They need to check that you aren’t on the state’s restricted list, collect tax forms to inform IRS of your win and fill in accounting paperwork.

Depending on the casino where you won the money, this can take weeks or months, so you won’t get your million dollars paid instantly.

What Happens If You Win A Million Dollars At The Casino?

Pay Taxes On Your Casino Winnings

One of the reasons why it takes casinos so long to send out a winner’s money is because they need to fill in a lot of tax paperwork.

By law, you will need to pay tax on substantial amounts of money but this depends structly on the game you were playing.

For examples, you will need to pay tax on keno winnings up from $1,500, and bingo and slot machine winnings are taxable from $1,200.

For lottery wins, wagering pools and sweepstakes, you need to pay tax up from $5,000.

A million dollars win at the casino is fully taxed as ordinary income. This means that you will need to pay tax on this money on federal level, and sometimes even on state level, too.

As each US state has its own laws on gambling taxes (see also “Gambling At Home: Is It Against The Law?“), it’s a good idea to check with a financial expert before you fill in your tax return.

But there are also taxes that you need to pay to the IRS. The tax amount on your gambling winnings depends on the specific amount and the type of game.

It’s important to keep in mind that all amounts need to be reported to the IRS but only when they meet a certain threshold will the money be taxable. 

You will then get an IRS form W2-G from the casino.

It’s also worth noting that the casino typically withholds up to 25% of your winnings as taxes before they pay you the final amount.

Is An Annuity Payout Better Than A Lump Sum?

An annuity payout from a casino can be better from a tax perspective than a lump sum.

With the lump sum option, you may have access to a large sum of money in one go but you will also need to pay taxes on this sum in this year.

Unless you are already earning a significant amount before you win, you will likely end up in a higher tax bracket than before.

This being said, you pay tax only once with a large sum payout, so it’s a great option for anyone who wants to pay off debts or their mortgage.

On the other hand, if you prefer to choose to put your money into a long-term payment plan, then you will need to pay taxes on your new income over a longer period of time.

Annuities are typically paid as a minimum amount each for up to 30 years. This means you will need to declare your income in your tax return each year.

Final Thoughts

If you win a million dollars at the casino, you are one of the few lucky ones who beat the odds.

Before you can celebrate, a casino worker needs to verify your identity and your correct win (see also “What Do You Need When You Win Big At The Casino?“). They will then arrange a way to pay your gambling money.

Richie Thames
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