IRS backing away from reporting threshold plan

April 12, 2016 3:00 AM
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IRS rethinking slot machine planThe Internal Revenue Service appears likely to back away from its proposal to reduce the slot jackpot reporting threshold from $1,200 to $600, according to American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman.

“My understanding is that they have taken a step back and are going to look at alternative ways and ultimately work with us to solve the problem that they think exists,” Freeman said during a Gaming Votes presentation at Rivers Casino on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

The IRS has told the AGA office finalizing the regulations is one of its goals but it is not saying anything beyond that for the time being.

Las Vegas casino personnel were unanimous in their opposition to the IRS plan when it was put out for comment last year, for all the most obvious reasons. They noted lowering the reporting limit would create more paperwork, increase the length of time when machines were down, waiting for a floorperson to show up and issue the necessary paperwork.

It would also mean a decrease in revenue because a game that is not being played is not generating revenue for anyone – the customer, the casino or the government.

The plan to lower the reporting threshold generated 14,120 written comments from the public.

Casino representatives throughout the country castigated the idea, saying it would reduce slot revenue and increase labor costs. Many argued the limit should be raised to reflect inflation.

Freeman said the proposal united the industry, as representatives of tribal and commercial gaming spoke “with one voice” in opposing it. He cited the IRS proposal as an example of the risk any industry can face from misunderstanding by the public or government.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: PhilHevener@GamingToday.com.