For most people the idea of winning a big prize at a casino is an unlikely dream, but plenty of gamblers do manage to strike it lucky, and end up with an unexpected windfall of cash winging its way to them.
Whether you win a few thousand dollars, or several million, there are a few things you need to do so that your casino earnings don’t become a burden.
Consider the tax implications
It’s not all that fun to immediately start thinking about tax when you hit a casino jackpot, but it’s better to do this sooner rather than later.
The fact of the matter is that you need to pay taxes on slot machine winnings in USA-based casinos, whether this comes from bricks and mortar venues or online gambling sites.
This also applies to every other game type and prize you might receive, whether or not it is in cash. So for example if you win a vacation or a vehicle in a game of chance, you’ll need to report this to the IRS and pay any tax owed when the time comes.
Most importantly, there is no getting around the tax obligations you face as a casino winner, since operators are legally obligated to report wins of $1,200 or more, so it will already be a matter of record soon afterwards.
Get independent financial advice
Following on from the issue of tax, you don’t need to worry about working this out yourself, or deciding what to do with the money on your own, if you get in touch with an independent, accredited and respected financial advisor.
The larger the sum of money you’ve won, the more important this will be. There are lots of stories of people who net major gambling jackpots, only to end up squandering it.
If your money is carefully managed, you and your family could enjoy a lifetime of financial security, rather than a year or two of living large, followed by a return to normal.
Keep the news to yourself
In the age of social media, it is very tempting to immediately share any major life event with the rest of the world, and a casino jackpot win seems like something that’s ripe for publicizing far and wide.
There are a few good reasons for not doing this, and even for staying quiet about your win to your friends and family, at least in the short term.
Firstly, suddenly coming into some money will leave you open to being inundated with requests from other people to share a little bit of your wealth with them.
This could be people you know, it could be complete strangers; the point remains that in either case, this will sour the experience of winning significantly, and could even ruin some of your closest relationships.
Secondly, publicizing your win could lead to you being targeted by full-blown criminals, and again this is a phenomenon which has happened to all sorts of social media users over the years.
That is not to say that you should never tell anyone about hitting a jackpot, but rather that it is sensible to take your time to get used to the idea, and contact a financial advisor to get your finances in order, before spilling the beans.
Get out while you’re ahead
Casino games are designed to give the house the edge, and so one of the worst things you can do after winning is to keep playing. You’ve already beaten the odds by beating the house, so sticking around any longer will only eat into your newfound fortune, rather than adding to it any more.
Cashing out quickly and avoiding the allure of the other games is wise, no matter how many incentives and perks the casino might offer you to keep playing.
Send the money to your bank rather than holding onto cash
The term ‘cashing out’ sounds old-fashioned, but it still applies to the land-based casino scene. Bigger wins won’t be paid out in hard currency, but moderately sized jackpots may well come to you in this form.
If you can get the casino to wire this to your bank account rather than lumbering you with the cash, this is best, since it instantly alleviates one security concern.
Of course it is also sensible to get in touch with your bank to let them know that a large deposit is on the way, as otherwise this could be flagged as suspicious activity. With all these tips followed, you should be set to enjoy life as a jackpot winner!