House lawmakers aim to raise taxable threshold of slot winnings with bipartisan bill

June 9, 2023
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The taxable winning threshold would increase from $1,200 to $5,000 to account for inflation since 1977.

A bipartisan bill now aims to raise the tax threshold of slot machine winnings from $1,200 to $5,000. The bill, sponsored by Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) is aptly called The Shifting Limits on Thresholds, or ‘SLOT’ Act.

This bill would raise the tax-free threshold of slot machine winnings for the first time since 1977. This would account for inflation over the past 45 years, with $5,000 marked as an equivalent level of exemption now.

Reschenthaler said, “The 1977 slot jackpot reporting threshold hurts both [the] gaming industry and its patrons. It has resulted in a drastic increase in reportable jackpots, which trigger tax burdens for winners and compliance burdens for casinos.”

Titus said in a statement, “This legislation would reduce the paperwork burden on businesses and players while ensuring our tax code reflects economic reality.”

Rules on slot machines vary state by state, from completely prohibited, to only allowed inside casinos or horseracing venues, to fully present in non-gaming settings, such as restaurants, gas stations and airports.

Shane Kraus, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas commented that interest in slot machines has been declining among younger players over the years, but that they may now be incentivized to play slots due to the SLOT Act.

Kraus told The Washington Examiner, “I don’t think it’s an amazing idea. If it passed, I’d want to see some robust funding for outreach and treatment available to problem gamblers. It would need to be balanced with some messaging on public health and treatment related to gambling.”

Dr. Brett Abarbanel, Executive Director of the University of Nevada’s International Gaming Institute, countered, “Updating a tax threshold to update for inflation wouldn’t necessarily drive riskier behavior.”

State-by-State

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