WASHINGTON — Citing inflation, the Congressional Gaming Caucus filed a bill Thursday to raise the threshold when gamblers are required to report their slot machine jackpot wins to the Internal Revenue Service.
The bipartisan bill filed by Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., would raise the $1,200 trigger for reporting winnings to $5,000 instead.
Titus said the current threshold was set in 1977. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be $5,000 today.
Currently, a jackpot win of $1,200 or more requires the casino or business to shut down a machine and demands IRS paperwork for the winning customer, Titus said.
“This creates an unnecessary burden on the gaming industry, an economic driver for Southern Nevada and other communities nationwide where slot machines exist,” she said.
A similar bill in the Senate has yet to be filed.
Titus pushed the Obama and Trump administrations for a change in the threshold, seeking to change the trigger amount through regulation.
The legislation filed Thursday, Shifting Limits on Thresholds, or SLOT Act, has bipartisan support in Nevada with co-sponsors that include Republican Mark Amodei and Democrat Steven Horsford.
Rep. Anthony Brown, a Democrat in Maryland where two casinos operate, also is co-sponsor.
Pennsylvania also has businesses with slot machines.
“Because the threshold has not kept up with inflation, it has resulted in a drastic increase in reportable jackpots, which trigger tax burdens for winners and compliance burdens for casinos,” Reschenthaler said.
Gaming and resort associations back the bill.
“It’s incredibly overdue and will be a welcomed move by guests and the resort industry as it reduces paperwork and streamlines the process for certain jackpots,” said Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association. “Any time you can make a process smoother and more efficient, it enhances the overall customer experience and increases the likelihood of a return visit.”
The American Gaming Association said the changes in the legislation would benefit everyone involved.
“Increasing the slot tax threshold to account for inflation is a long overdue change that will alleviate unnecessary administrative burdens on casino operators, their customers and an understaffed and overwhelmed IRS,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, in a statement.
The American Gaming Association and the Congressional Gaming Caucus led efforts to direct the Treasury Department to study and recommend a regulatory adjustment of the winnings threshold in 2020.
A Treasury Department report on its findings, however, has yet to be filed, according to the American Gaming Association.
The legislation will now be assigned to House committees to review the bill. The Congressional Budget Office will determine the cost to implement it and the amount of tax revenue the government may lose as a result.
Contact Gary Martin at [email protected] Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.