When you win a slot jackpot, the casino must verify that your win is legitimate and not due to cheating, tampering, or malfunction.
Both online casinos and in-person casinos require you to fill out paperwork, complete tax forms, and verify your identity before you can cash out.
You should consider getting a financial adviser or other financial professional to help you navigate the complexities that come with winning a jackpot.
We’ve all pictured this moment — pulling the slot lever and watching the matching symbols hit one after the other. The bells ring. The lights flash. The win amount on the screen goes up, up, up. You’ve won a slot jackpot.
Hitting a jackpot on a slot machine is all about luck. But it can’t hurt to be prepared for when that moment comes. Let’s dive into what to do after you win a slot jackpot, including claiming your prize, paying Uncle Sam, and adjusting to your new life.
What It’s Like To Win a Slot Jackpot
You probably only hear about jackpot wins worth hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Heck, the biggest slot wins of all time are all over $1 million. But winning even a few thousand or $50,000 in a slot jackpot is a life-changing amount of money for many people.
Since January 1, 2022, casinos in New Jersey have paid out nearly $115 million to more than 1,300 lucky winners who won jackpots of at least $50,000. That includes wins at both land-based casinos and online casinos and wins on a variety of games, like slots, video poker, craps, and roulette.
But what the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement report doesn’t show us is all the other people who won other smaller jackpots. That means there are thousands of other players who’ve won jackpot slot amounts that are nothing to sneeze at. And you could be one of them.
How To Claim Your Prize and Cash Out Your Winnings
The process of working with the casino to verify your win and collect your prize is different at a brick-and-mortar casino than at an online casino.
Claiming Your Jackpot at a Land-Based Casino
Wait for a casino attendant to find you: At an in-person casino, a casino attendant will find you at your machine. You don’t have to go looking for someone or even hit a button to alert a staff member.
Get your win verified. The attendant will verify that your win is legitimate and not due to a malfunction. Unfortunately, slot machine malfunctions are more common than you think, and they can jeopardize any size win, especially a huge slot jackpot. A woman in New York almost won $43 million on a penny machine, but the malfunction voided her entire win. The opposite situation can apparently happen, too. In 2022, a lucky player won $230,000 on a jackpot slot but the machine never alerted them to the win and they didn’t cash out. Luckily, the Vegas casino tracked them down to pay them.
Provide your ID and Social Security number: You’ll need to show your valid ID to prove your identity and give the casino your Social Security number for tax reporting reasons. If you’re not originally from the States, you would provide another relevant tax ID or provide other identification information.
Fill out tax form at the casino: You also have to fill out a tax form so the casino can report your winnings to the IRS and relevant state gaming board. You’ll get your own tax form, a sort of receipt, when tax season rolls around so you can file your taxes correctly. More on taxes later.
Choose how you want to be paid: Depending on how much you won, you may have limited options. If you’ve won a few thousand dollars, you may be able to get cash or a paper check. Casinos may only pay large amounts by bank transfer. If you win hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, you can choose a one-time, lump-sum payment or opt into a regular payout structure. Many casinos allow you to cash out a portion immediately with your chosen payment option and get the rest through a more secure method.
Get your giant check — or not: The casino may offer you a giant check and even interview you about your jackpot slot win. But you don’t have to go through the whole potentially embarrassing process if you’d rather collect your winnings quietly.
Claiming Your Slot Jackpot Prize at an Online Casino
Take a screenshot of your win: To celebrate and to verify your win, consider snapping a quick screenshot of your computer or smartphone screen that shows your win amount on the online slot game’s screen. While the casino has its own way of verifying, this photo gives you peace of mind and a bit more leverage.
Reach out to customer service: It’s best to initiate the conversation to get to the bottom of whether or not you really did win a potentially life-changing amount of money.
Or, wait until a casino host reaches out to you: More often than not, a casino rep will reach out to you directly via email or phone. But reaching out to them first never hurts.
Have your win verified: The online casino will review your play and make sure no malfunction or cheating occurred. They’ll also need to verify that you’ve met the playthrough requirement for any bonus promotions you opted into before they’re able to start the payout process.
Fill out tax documents: The casino rep will send you all the forms you need to fill out, including tax forms to report your winnings to the IRS and relevant state agency.
Choose your payment method: Online casinos may be more strict when it comes to picking a payment method. You may be able to get a check for smaller jackpots, or you may get a bank transfer for larger jackpots. Many offer the lump-sum or regular payment option for large jackpots.
Wait for your money to arrive: Some online casinos only allow you to withdraw a certain amount of your winnings in a certain period of time (like each month). However, most online casinos in New Jersey try to get you your slot jackpot prize money as soon as possible. Make sure to ask about the cashing out process up front so you know what to expect during this process.
Paying Taxes on Your Slot Jackpot Prize
You must pay federal income taxes on your slot jackpot winnings if you win at least $1,200. U.S. taxpayers must pay 24% in taxes. Canadian citizens are also subject to the 24% tax rate. But foreign nationals must pay 30% on casino winnings to the U.S. government.
The New Jersey tax rate for all casino winnings, including slot jackpots, is 3%. Even if you don’t live in New Jersey but won a slot jackpot at an Atlantic City casino or at an online casino while visiting the state, you still must pay 3%.
Casinos generally give you the option to have the taxes deducted by the casino before you receive your prize. They’ll issue you a W2-G as a “receipt” you’ll use when filing your taxes. This makes doing your taxes a bit easier, and it’s convenient because you don’t have to worry about paying later. If you opt to pay the taxes when tax season rolls around, you get to keep your whole prize, but you’re responsible for accurately reporting your casino winnings to both the state and federal government.
Tips for Managing Your New Fortune
Winning a slot jackpot can change your life in many ways. The people in your life may treat you differently. You may get a little press. Your personal finances and taxes are going to be a lot more complicated. But you can manage this new chapter of your life with a few tips.
First, consider keeping your win a secret. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t celebrate. But if you’re not interested in the press, don’t accept an interview from the casino or agree to be in any press materials. If you don’t want attention from your friends, extended family, and co-workers, keep it low-key by living your life the same, more or less, and not telling them. Don’t want people asking you for money? Don’t tell them about your jackpot and avoid those awkward conversations.
But tell your immediate family, like your partner or spouse and possibly your kids. That way no one is really freaked out when you splurge on a really nice dinner, new car, or other large expense.
Second, treat yourself, but live within your means. Depending on how much you win, your money may or may not run out in a few months or years. It’s great to use some of your major winnings to treat yourself and your family to a nice dinner, a much-needed vacation, or life upgrades, like a new car or house. But watching your spending can ensure you don’t spend more than you can really afford.
Third, get help managing your new fortune. We’re not financial advisers, but we would recommend you get one now that you’ve got thousands or millions more dollars in the bank. They’ll help you manage your finances, invest your money, set up legal documents for passing money down or donating to causes you believe in, and ensure your taxes are accurate each year.
Need a Lucky Online Casino in New Jersey?
If you’re ready to press your luck on a jackpot slot, then check out our reviews of online casinos in New Jersey to find your lucky spot. We’ve evaluated these casinos for their welcome bonus offers, customer support, and more so you can focus on play and, hopefully, winning a life-changing jackpot.
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