Bill proposal aims to tax big winners at casinos - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bill proposal aims to tax big winners at casinos

(WMC-TV) - A Mississippi lawmaker is hoping to change a law in order to save the state from losing money from its gamblers.

Right now, gamblers who hit a jackpot of $1,200 or more at the slot machines have their taxes taken out by the casinos.  But if you win less, it is your responsibility to pay the taxes later.

Alicia Powell remembers her friend paying taxes after hitting it big.

"She won, I think, like $4,000 so they made her fill out that form," explained Powell.

The Mississippi Department of Revenue says a 3 percent withholding is required on jackpots of $1,200 or more.

"It's the amounts that are less than what we currently require withholding on that will be affected," said Kathy Waterbury, MS Department of Revenue.

Winners are supposed to pay the withholdings on anything less than $1,200, but the deputy director of the state's gaming commission says that could change if Senate Bill 2144 passes.

"What this bill would do would in some way require casinos in some way to withhold the 3 percent on any jackpot," said Jay McDaniel, Mississippi Gaming Commission deputy director.

The money collected could be used for transportation and other capital needs, causing mixed reactions.

"I think it's nothing wrong with being taxed, all of us gotta live here and the government works off tax money," said Mississippi resident Monique Welch.

Action News 5's attempts to reach out to some of the Tunica casinos for comment on the bill went unanswered.

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