BILOXI — Casino operators in South Mississippi are coming out against an IRS proposal that would require players to file tax forms any time they win $600 or more on slot machines, keno or bingo.
The threshold currently is $1,200. Hit that amount or higher and the slot machine freezes and stays locked until the Internal Revenue Service form is complete.
If any adjustment is made, Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, tells The Sun Herald it should go up, not down.
He says adjusting for inflation the amount should be closer to $4,600.
Freeman said he’s heard a variety of viewpoints on the “complex and sweeping proposal by the IRS,” and everyone in the industry agrees: “Lowering the reporting threshold on gaming winnings from $1,200 to $600 is a major mistake.”
He said, “To cut the threshold in half will create burdensome, unnecessary paperwork and reporting requirements. Most importantly, it will severely undermine the customer experience.”
Rather than speaking individually against the IRS plan, casino management is depending on the Mississippi and national casino organizations to lead the charge.
Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association, said the proposal is a big deal to gamblers at Mississippi casinos.
“Thousands and thousands of visitors are in the casinos weekend nights,” Gregory said. It takes time to do the paperwork, and he said with more people required to fill out the form, more will be waiting in line rather than having fun.
The IRS will accept public comment on the proposal until June 1.