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What happens when you win big in a non-UK casino?

While gambling and globetrotting may not be the most common combination, there’s no denying that the two can sometimes go hand-in-hand. Back in the days where gambling was more restricted, and there wasn’t a huge selection of online casinos offering free spins no deposit upon sign up, you’d need to go travelling if you wanted to give gambling a proper go. Now, in the United Kingdom, if you happen to win big at the casino you don’t have to pay a penny of tax thanks to legislation that puts the onus on the gambling operator to pay 15% of their gross profits. But the law tends to be a little different across the globe with different taxation guidelines in different countries. If you’re planning a big holiday with some gambling along the way, you may as well be prepared for what could happen!


The up-and-coming territory of Macau, a former Portuguese colony off the coast of China, is rapidly becoming the largest casino city in the world. With revenue dwarfing that of Monte Carlo and Las Vegas, it’s clear that the Asian Mecca of Gambling is soon going to be a major destination for anyone hoping to enjoy some gambling while they’re on holiday. But what do you do if you hit the jackpot? Luckily for you, Macau has no tax on winnings! This has been one of the major attractions drawing rich patrons and high-rollers to Macau. The serious gamblers enjoy the tax-free winnings while the island continues to make money thanks to the high quality restaurants and other amenities. It’s noteworthy that whilst Vegas has 135 casinos compared to Macau’s 49, Macau has no small casinos and has significantly more hotels.. While you may win more with no tax, the cost of living is pretty high, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning an extended stay.

Monte Carlo

The major European casino city and, much like Macau, a believer in an unusual approach to the tax system. In Monaco there’s no tax at all, except for a few specific cases for French nationals thanks to a bilateral fiscal deal with France and companies who earn more than 25% of their turnover outside the principality. While the natives of Monaco can’t gamble, it’s easy for a tourist to find a casino and enjoy some tax-free gambling fun with the added bonus that they get to take the entirety of their winnings home! This could all change in the future if France expands their gambling jurisdiction into the principality itself but there’s been no statement to confirm or deny that this is on the cards.


This is the big one! While Macau and Monte Carlo are both gambling paradises and offer a tax-free incentive to gamble, the USA is still keen on collecting taxable benefits from their casino patrons. Whilst there are still a few states where gambling is completely illegal, the majority now allow some form of gambling, and casinos are becoming more and common across the entire United States. When it comes to taxation, the standard rate is 25% on winnings over a certain amount (depending what you’re betting on). and serves as a flat rate. That means, unlike income tax, the amount you owe doesn’t depend on how much you win. Whether you win $10,000 or $100,000, the rate the Inland Revue Service (IRS) can claim is still just 25% of your winnings, which the casino will usually withhold on your behalf if you win at slots. Once they’ve verified what’s been won, a US resident would be issued with a W-2G form that explains what the IRS will take as tax from their winnings and ensures their annual tax filings are up-to-date before they’re allowed to leave with the money: the casino making sure that the taxman gets his money. If the winnings are at a table game though, for instance Blackjack, the casino may not withhold the winnings but you will still be liable for the tax. In this circumstance it’s very important that you keep your records straight and contact the IRS. For legal residents of the United States, you can even claim back some of your gambling losses in the form of a rebate which can help offset some of the tax if you’re a big enough gambler. But this is all for US residents, what if you’re from the United Kingdom?

Well, the good news is that the UK’s law of no tax on gambling winnings extends into the States! As a result, if you do win big while over there you can claim back the withheld funds by talking to the IRS once you’ve returned home. There might be a slight delay though before you are provided with the funds, if you want to expedite the process you could apply for a W-8BEN form which can help you collect your money faster and more easily!

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