How does one track their winnings at a casino?

So, I’m gonna be in NJ soon and I was thinking about hopping over to Atlantic City as I’ll have a spare day.

I was thinking about the popular image of the casino with chips passing from hand to hand with fast action.

After a brisk day of winning X dollars at a cost of X*1.5, how does one determine how much they did win, e.g. for tax purposes? E.g. how do I get an IRS 1099 for whatever I won in 10 rounds of craps and 20 of blackjack? Is it all electronic now or am I expected to carry a notepad jotting down that I won $5 at a round of blackjack.

You keep receipts from purchasing X dollars worth of chips and cashing in Y dollars worth of chips. The difference between them is your profit or loss.

You don’t bet money, you bet casino chips. When you cash them back in you’ll know how much you won (or more likely lost). :slight_smile: Or do some places let you use cash?

I have never gotten a receipt from buying chips at a casino.

If you go over a certain amount, the casino will take taxes out of your winnings on the spot…this is mostly for slot jackpots. I assume they would also issue you a 1099 or similar form.

With chips, I think, but am not certain, that the same or similar process would occur if you attempt to cash in over a certain amount at a time. Can’t say it’s ever been an issue for me, as I’m a small time gambler, sticking mostly to the $5 table games, and never winning or losing more than a couple hundred dollars. Mostly losing.

I rarely gamble, but what I’ve always done is to put whatever I’m wiling to gamble in my left pocket, and anything that I win goes in the right pocket. When the left pocket’s empty, I’m done gambling.

You only need to know your net result, so it is pretty easy to keep track of how much you start with and how much you leave with. Unless you win some seriously large money, you typically don’t have to worry about tax consequences. Over the course of an year, chances are your gambling losses more than offsets your winnings (Otherwise casinos would not be in business)

The feds only care if win $1200 or more (on a slot). Each specific state may have it’s own limit. The casino will issue you (and send to the IRS) form W-2G, which you must then report as income on your 1040. The one time this happened to me, the casino did not withhold taxes from me, but that could vary I suppose.

Last I heard, the casinos convinced Unca Sam that they had no way of tracking table games winnings - that is, if you cash out $6000 in chips, they can’t say that you started with $25 or $250,000. So no reporting winnings to the IRS there. They will, however, report transactions over $10,000 under the same money-laundering laws that the banks follow. (CTRs - Cash Transaction Reports, I believe.)

Lastly, you can also declare gambling losses as a miscellaneous deduction on your 1040 schedule A, but only up to the amount that you claim as wins with a W-2G. And you do need receipts etc for this. So if you win $2500 and get a W-2G, you can claim up to $2500 in loses.

ETA: Here’s a link to the W-2G (PDF)
And instructions:

Can’t you track your wins/losses with a player’s club card? I only have one and don’t gamble much, so I’m not too sure…

You sure can, but it’s approximate at best, especially for table games.

First, it only includes buy-ins when you use your card. Subsequent buy-ins would only be tracked if the pit boss notices (and they’re only alerted if it is over a certain amount). Cash outs are not tracked by card, so it’s an estimation that the pit boss enters into the computer infrequently. Sure, they can make it perfect, but it’s not really in their best interest.

I just downloaded my 2008 Win/Loss Statement (I lost $382 :()

The statement also says:

It continues to state that their policy is to not show direct coin-in and coin-out.

But since the OP asks about tracking for tax purposes, I stand my previous post: the casino will only report slot wins of $1200 or more, and will not report table game wins at all (Keno and race tracks have their own limits). However, if you do win a slot over $1200, you can deduct losses up to the amount of your reported win. To do so, you will need a detailed journal.

Just ask. They’ll give you one.

Why? They don’t track chips, and the IRS has no way of telling whether you won or lost. Screw 'em. Unless you win big on a slot machine, just cash in your chips and smile as you leave.