“What other than slots, do you do on your spare time??” asks Mari L.
First off, spare time..What’s that?? Haha. Although I do work my butt off for my channel, I do allow myself time to enjoy the things that I love.
Travel. I love to travel the world. I’ve so far lived in Malta, Paris, Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angeles (more on that in my blog in 3 weeks!) and I’ve visited all over Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. Unfortunately (or fortunately) these days I always include casino trips in those, so they become work trips. But NOT when I went to Hawaii for my 10th Wedding Anniversary! There are no casinos in Hawaii don’t ya know ;)
Entertaining. I LOVE to entertain friends and family. Any excuse to have a party, and I will host it. And with each party, I try to outdo my last one. At Marco’s recent Birthday party I found a bartender on Craigslist and hired a company to make tacos on the deck and we even had a drag queen (Cake Moss!) come and perform. For the Oscars I rented a large screen and projector complete with a popcorn machine to make the experience more fun. At one of my parties, just show up and enjoy!
Family. Marco and I are the only family we each have in the city. My family is all in Canada and his are spread between Indiana and Central America. So whenever we get a chance to see our families, we make the most of it. For the second year in a row, we have invited my parents to stay with us for a month in LA (complete with a trip to Vegas of course!).
Sports. I like to watch Baseball as it was the sport I played growing up. Blue Jays are my team. Aside from baseball, I enjoy participating in the end of year finals of other sports like Super Bowl Sunday. I recently went to watch the Toronto Raptors play in LA in fact!
Home. If it’s just me at home for the weekend, I like to get a bit dirty with some handyman work or yard work. I’ve only electrocuted myself twice (I swore I turned off the electricity beforehand lol). As you may have heard, I recently fixed our hot water tank by diagnosing the problem using YouTube videos.
Birds. We have a hummingbird feeder with resident bird, Buddy, who sits atop the feeder to fend off other birds from getting any nectar. He’s a jerk, but I love him, haha. After the death of our cat a couple years ago, he’s the best thing since. We travel too much for a real pet and so we have a fake cat too ;)
Outside of all that, Marco and I like to make random date nights. Our next one is a metro date. We’ve never used the subway metro lines in LA before, so we’re going to explore the stops and find some cool places to visit! And for my Birthday, he’s planned an outing to see the show WICKED, which I haven’t seen before! I’m always open to finding more places to see and visit, so let me know where else to go by commenting on my blog post on Facebook!
To find out more about Marco and I and how we met, check it out next week!
Brian xoxo ❤️
I’ve come to learn that having haters is something that comes with having a YouTube Channel. I never really thought about that much when I started my venture, and when it began to happen, I was shocked. Within days of uploading, I received homophobic, hate-filled rants that mostly had nothing to do with my content itself and more to do with just being #RUDE.
These days, the hate generally comes more from either other YouTube channels or their followers. It really is quite sad that people feel it is appropriate to spread hate, lies and rumors about people they have never met – whether they believe it to be true or not. They choose to create videos bullying others who are defenseless to their words.
I choose not to engage.
There is no value in bringing light to their hate and lies. In fact, I have never spoken badly about another person on my YouTube Channel. If I do not like someone or don’t agree with them, they don’t deserve my attention or the attention that my words would bring them. That said, I do have a few words for my haters – with love.
You don’t have to like me.
You don’t have to agree with my business. I’ll add that any channel on YouTube that decides to turn on monetization is, in and of itself, a business. You gain income and you have to claim that to the government. Some people love to bring attention to the fact that I do this to make a living. Duh, I’ve never heard of a successful entrepreneur who didn’t make money or who wanted to work 60 hours a week for no pay.
If I wanted to try and sell a t-shirt for a whopping $1000 😂, I’d have the right to do so – just as my followers have the right to buy it or not. (I obviously don’t, but if I thought people would want it, for sure you’d find it in my store LOL).
“You only do this to make money!”
Some like to attack me for charging $6 for wristbands that they claim cost me 10 cents to make. Guess what – even if they did cost me 10 cents – I am allowed to set whatever sale price I choose. Why not attack Coke for selling Dasani for $3 a bottle for something that costs them 0.0015 cents to produce? That’s how you can pay your staff, your electricity, all of your expenses. It’s called running a business. No business ever survived selling at cost. The fact that I even have to write this is embarrassing. I do call my channel educational, so there ya go, haha.
I have never forced anyone to pay for anything I’ve ever sold. My videos are free to watch for all. For those who wish to join my Rudies Fan Club, regardless at what level, they all receive the exact same perk of being a part of the group and watching our private content. And again, I wouldn’t produce things for people to buy if I didn’t think they’d want them. Take my stickers for example, I thought they’d be very popular. I spent hundreds of dollars getting them printed and to date I have only sold 2 stickers. It’s sometimes a gamble!
When I started my Patreon account after having around 10 or 15,000 subscribers, I was attacked by others saying it was a horrible thing to do and how dare I. Fast forward a year and there are over 100,000 YouTube channels on Patreon –many with less than 100 subscribers even, which is their choice. It is setup to help every creator at any level.
I’ve also been called out from people for blocking them from my channel or Patreon account. Turns out – it’s my page, so if I feel you are being too negative – I will block you. Heck if I didn’t like the fact that you said you saw a Green Dress (when it obviously was Blue!) – I can block you lol. I’ve removed people who use homophobic, racist slurs, who speak negatively about me or my friends, or who flat out put out negative energy. And again, that’s my choice. On occasion myself or a moderator will make a mistake and we’re only glad to listen and reverse them if warranted.
I’m not perfect. I have made mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes.
I’m an innovator and so I like to try new things. My group pulls were gaining popularity, but every time I'd hold them there would be a large portion of people who either didn't show up or would cancel last second. This would result in many upset people not being able to participate because it was 'full'. That's why in 2017 I decided to charge $10 for a few group pulls. It was not about the money, but I figured if I charged $10 and provided them with swag valued over that amount, that they would actually show up! It did work, but after doing a couple of these it just felt weird accepting money from people so I decided to just over book people in the hopes that some would cancel. It’s not to say I won’t charge again in the future (I just ran an event for 120 people with over 100 on the wait list and yet again, only a 3/4 showed up), but that’s my choice – as it is the participants choice to pay if they so choose.
Another channel who I have always praised and looked up to, (and even offered to do a collab with), has repeatedly berated me and spread rumors about my buying subscribers and most recently saying a video I uploaded 2 years ago was shot without permission. It was a group pull I filmed openly (I mean come on, I had my phone out and was conversing with everyone in the video), and I worked my butt off to create a top notch video of it complete with background Vegas footage. It was after only having a channel for about 3 months and I was still figuring things out. I failed to shout out the group who organized the group pull in the video and learned of my mistake only afterward and so I added a link in the description to them. There was no ill will and in fact, I shared the video to their forum the next day as I was so proud of it. I was also allowed with full permission (and with shout outs this time!) to film more group pulls with them in the future. So I hope they realize I didn’t do anything rude on purpose, but if any participants did, I apologize.
Bottom line – go ahead and spread your hate, your lies or call me out if I make a mistake.
But leave my husband out of it.
I am disgusted and appalled by these people who create nicknames for us, or fake accounts using my image with derogatory names and comments and then to go as far as to do the same to my husband? Shame on you. The tactics shown as of late are those I wouldn’t expect from a child.
Just as it is my choice to do any of the above, I get it that others have every right to say what they want as well. They claim that they’re providing a public service to people. I choose however to believe that my own 151,000 followers can make decisions for themselves. If they wish to take others’ words as fact from people who don’t know me, then that’s their prerogative. Whenever I’ve seen a channel do something I don’t feel is appropriate, I have personally reached out to them in a private message to voice my concerns which is the respectful route to take. Every successful YouTube channel, or person, or business in the world for that matter, will face criticism and haters. I am only in control of my own actions and I will continue to learn and grown on my own. As such, my focus has and always will remain to be, creating quality entertainment with responsible gambling in a positive and upbeat environment.
My New Years resolution is to not let the haters get to me because their actions and words actually say a lot more about them than they do about me.
I am and always have been open to comments, questions or concerns by private message should anyone ever wish to have a respectful conversation.
Brian Christopher xoxo ❤️
My longtime fan and friend, Kat N, wanted me to touch on etiquette in the casino, and frankly I wish this was posted at the entrance of every casino I go to :p
I’ll do this post as a TOP 10 LIST as opposed to my normal blogs.
TOP 10 PIECES OF ETIQUETTE FOR THE CASINO
You may have noticed some overlay in this blog from my Biggest Pet Peeve Blog, so be sure to check it out as well as others!
Til next week when we get a little personal about my life...
Brian xoxo ❤️
Vicky H wants to know, ‘When is a good time to Cash Out?’ I’ve also been asked by numerous people, How long should you stay on a Machine?
This is one of those “easier said than done” moments. So let me just say it, haha.
You should cash out when you start asking yourself ‘should I cash out?’. It’s true, right?? We sit on a machine and we are losing and losing and for some reason that finger just keeps pressing that SPIN button even though your mind is screaming at you to cash out (but the devil on your shoulder says to keep pushing because it’s ‘DUE’ to pay!). If you’re not good at listening to that voice, try this instead:
Based on your budget, start with a certain bill: $5, $20, $100. NEVER put a ticket in the machine unless you are prepared to lose it all (not speaking from experience….ahem…obviously…). Start your spinning, and if after your first 10 spins you haven’t lined up a single line hit, it’s time to reevaluate. Either cash out and promise to come back later (it will always be there!) or prepare yourself for another 10 losing spins, just in case.
I like to start with a fresh $100 in a machine, which on a $5/bet machine, will get me 20 spins. I feel it usually takes 20 to 40 spins before I can see any action. So hopefully $100 would do that for me. However, if I get down to $50 and I haven’t hit a darn thing –then it’s time to CASH OUT.
Now what happens if you are WINNING!! When or better still, HOW, do you cash out? So many times I hear from people that they won $500 on a machine but they just kept playing it down to nothing. Don’t be ‘that guy’. Instead, let’s say you just won a sum of money on a machine. Any of these methods are acceptable:
My buddy Neily777 follows a Cash Out Strategy of putting $20 into a machine and cashing the ticket out if he hits $25. Then he could either put in another $20 OR move on. Making 25% profit is HUGE on slot machines, heck, breaking even is huge too! So take those wins when you can!
What is NOT acceptable, is to continue playing expecting to keep on winning, not setting limits, or thinking that it’s ‘HOT’. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no such thing as a HOT machine, nor is any machine ever DUE to pay out (unless it’s a ‘must pay by’ machine). #ItsAllAboutTiming
Set your limits on a machine and CASH OUT when you KNOW it’s right. And for goodness sakes, take those wins and hide them in your Winners Bank. Go home with something in your pocket as a little reminder that you DID in fact win something at the casino.
You can get your Winners Bank from THIS SITE and remember to use promo code: BRIANCHRIS to save 10%
I'll see you all next week when we talk a little about Casino Etiquette!
Brian xoxo ❤️
Sooooo many of you often ask during my live streams or in the comments #WHERESMARCO! I have even received emails and private messages asking if Marco and I are ‘OK’ since they haven’t seen him in a video for a while. I assure you, we are awesome and better than ever!
First off, we have been married for 10 years and together 15 – crazy!! We got married in my home town of Toronto, Canada. We’ve lived together in Paris France, Toronto Canada, and now in Los Angeles USA. In the work force, I have never had your typical ‘day job’. I’ve been an actor since I was 11 years old and so all of my jobs were the ones that supported that career: server, bartender, Lyft and Uber Driver, Vacation Rental Operator, fire inspector, sales and retail etc. Then after the birth of my YouTube channel, I’m now a YouTuber!
Marco on the other hand, works a 'real' job, haha, which is precisely why he doesn’t have the flexibility to join me on most of my trips. He works Monday to Friday from 9-6 and as a non-gambler he doesn’t particularly want to spend his whole weekend flying to a smoky casino and work events with me (though he has plenty of times!). He has joined me on numerous trips this year including Rudies Weekend and the Rudies Cruise. He especially likes joining for the casino trips where the hotel I’m staying at has a Spa or pool as he loves his massages and pool time. In fact, he was an avid swimmer as a child and continues to swim laps almost daily at the gym. So that’s how he keeps his boyish figure. Me, well…I have a card that says I’m a member of a gym. It’s a start.
So if you’re at an event with me and you see Marco there, you can finally say, “There he is!”, and count yourself lucky. I count myself extremely lucky to have the love and full support of him and all of my family for my venture. And just because you may not see him, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t been a huge part of helping me organize from home. He’s instrumental in helping me get, and stay, organized.
And hey, if you REALLY want to know where he is, be sure to follow Marco on Instagram: @WheresMarcoBC
Brian xoxo ❤️
Robert P. asks, “Can you explain what constitutes a volatile machine?”
Volatility essentially means how risky a game is, or how easy or difficult it is to win a jackpot on a machine. The more volatile a machine is, the less often you win HOWEVER when you do win, you’ll win BIG!
A great example of a machine with high volatility incliude the Ainsworth machines that have giant jackpots above them that say, ‘Must win by’ and then a large sum of money, like $10,000. It means that the majority of the money that is put into the machine will go towards paying out that single person who is lucky enough to win said jackpot. It doesn’t mean you will lose on every other spin, but just that they won’t pay out as well, or as often, on the whole. Higher volatile machines would also include those that have progressive amounts to win or are
very difficult to hit a bonus on.
Low volatile games are those that will pay out more often, but at smaller amounts, and offer the least amount of chances to win a jackpot. These games are best for those with a smaller budget who may wish to play longer and aren’t as obsessed with coming away a massive winner.
Games are not strictly Volatile or Non-Volatile. They could be anywhere on a range from low, to mid, to high, or anywhere in between. Here's just a few examples I’ve come up with based on my experiences with these games:
High volatile games: Cleopatra, Mustang Money
Mid to High Volatile Games: Quick Hit, Gold Bonanza, Wheel of Fortune, Betti the Yetti, Buffalo
Mid Volatile Games: Top Dollar, Mighty Cash, Pinball, Dancing Drums, Fu Dao Le
Low Volatile Games: Texas Tea, Lucky Pony
So you have to choose: do you want to play more and win smaller amounts? Or play less and have a chance to make it rich? I suggest mixing up your play styles. Perhaps allot a quarter of your budget to higher volatile games, half to mid-level volatile games and then if you’re down to 25% of your budget, to stick to lower volatile games. Of course, there is no guarantees at ANY level that you’ll come away a winner, so you better just hope that Lady Luck is on your side! And sometimes when you take a risk, like I did with my biggest Cleopatra WIN, it may pay off for you!
Let me know of some of your own examples under our post on Facebook!
Brian xoxo ❤️
Jerry W asks a very important question,
“What is the difference between a gambling addict and all these gambling channels. Are you all compulsive gamblers? Or can you stop at any given moment? Can you all stop gambling for a month? What do you tell viewers who have a gambling problem?”
I will not speak for others, but I do promise to be as open and honest as possible and to provide as much education as I can. I am not an expert and so have researched and provided links below.
The Mayo Clinic classifies compulsive gambling (or gambling disorder) as
the uncontrollable urge to keep gambling despite the toll it takes on your life. Gambling
means that you’re willing to risk something you value in the hope of getting something of even greater value. It can stimulate the brain’s reward system much like drugs or alcohol can, leading to addiction.
According to them, Symptoms include:
Personally, I do not have an addiction. I enjoy gambling responsibly and have learned the limits I need to set for myself over time. That wasn’t always the case however. When I was younger, I would sometimes gamble too much and I found myself gambling to make back the money I lost. That is a sure way to come away a loser every time, because when you win, you feel invincible and keep gambling…until it’s all gone. A jackpot is never big enough.
Some tricks I personally use to ensure it does not become a problem and that I recommend:
Casinos should be used as a form of entertainment, a place to hang out with friends or to just get away and have some excitement. It is NOT a place to go and get rich or to help you pay the bills. If the fun stops, so should you. My favorite saying is from the Ontario Lottery Gaming: Know your Limit, Play within It.
For more information or if you think you may have a problem, I encourage you to reach out to friends and family and to visit these suggested places as outlined on HelpGuide.org :
The National Council on Problem Gambling Helpline – Offers a confidential, 24-hour helpline for problem gamblers or their family members in the U.S. Call 1-800-522-4700. (NCPG)
Gamblers Anonymous – Twelve-step Gamblers Anonymous program, an international support network of meetings to assist people who have a gambling problem. Gam-Anon for the problem gambler's spouse, family members, or close friends. (Gamblers Anonymous)
Gamcare – Offers support, information, and advice for those with a gambling problem in the UK. Call the helpline 0845 6000 133. (Gamcare)
Gambling Help Online – Provides 24-hour helpline in Australia for counseling, information, and referrals. Call 1800 858 858. (Gambling Help Online)
Canadian Resources for Those Affected by Problem Gambling – Find help and information on problem gambling in your area of Canada. (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
What Is Problem Gambling? – Learn about the gambling continuum and the key differences between recreational gambling and problem gambling. (British Columbia Responsible & Problem Gambling Program)
Freedom from Problem Gambling (PDF) – Self-help workbook for compulsive gamblers, with tips on how to avoid relapse and fight gambling urges. (UCLA Gambling Studies Program and California Department of Public Health)
Choosing a Treatment Facility – Learn what treatments are appropriate for problem gambling and what questions you should ask when look at facilities. (National Council on Problem Gambling)
Problem Gamblers and their Finances (PDF) – In-depth guide for treatment professionals on how to help a problem gambler cope with financial problems and pressures. (National Endowment for Financial Education)
Help for Family, Friends, Employers, and Co-Workers – Learn how gambling addiction affects family and friends and what you can do to address the problem. (Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services)
Personal Financial Strategies for the Loved Ones of Problem Gamblers (PDF) – Designed to help families deal with personal financial issues due to a loved one's problem gambling. (National Council on Problem Gambling)
Today’s question comes in from Caudia B who asks, “Do you tip slot attendants when they pay you for a pay out, and how much?..from parking and anything in between”
It’s a question I get a lot and so I’ll give you my opinion – but it in no way is ‘the standard’, if there is one. Keep in mind that everyone has their own idea of how much to tip for everything in life; at restaurants, in a taxi, at the hair dresser etc.
Let’s start with Drink Service.
I recommend tipping what you would normally feel comfortable giving at a normal service bar. When I order a bottle of beer or a whisky, I usually give a dollar or two per drink. In Vegas Casinos, you get free drinks while you’re playing. The minimum you should tip is $1 per drink. If you ask for a beer and a bottle of water, then tip $2. (For some reason, when I order a cocktail, I tip $2 because I feel more time was put into creating it.) And just like when you’re at your local pub and it’s your favorite bar tender working; or if they’re generous and bring you an extra shot; or remember your drink order – then perhaps give them more! I usually give $5 a drink to those servers. If you’re ‘buying’ drinks for 3 people, then you can shoot them $10. You can be sure that the more you tip, the better and more frequent service you receive. I have some friends that religiously give $20 – and boy is our service (and drinks!) superior!
Getting a Hand Pay (a jackpot paid out in cash, generally over $1,200) is another bird all together. At this point it’s less about the action of paying you out and more about the overall experience in the casino. My rule is to offer $20 a hand pay OR 1%, whichever is more. Now I get it, 1% sounds soooo cheap, but believe me, it’s generous. Let’s have a look…
$1,200 Hand Pay = $20 tip
$2,000 Hand Pay = $20 tip
$5,000 Hand Pay = $50 tip
$10,000 Hand Pay = $100 tip
Every gambler knows that you lose more money than you win in the long run on slots. That’s why I feel these numbers are appropriate. You know that it cost you a LOT more than $10,000 to win that amount. I can also attest that as a bartender for almost a decade, I never once received a $100 tip (and I was an awesome bartender!)– so again, that’s where I see it being generous.
*Pro Tip (pun intended)
When tipping the attendant, it’s always a good idea to ask the people paying you if they share the tips or if it just goes to them. If there are two people helping you, and they keep their own tips, then you can split the tip between them. Otherwise, you can rest assured knowing they will put it in a shared ‘tip jar’ in the back (they have to, there are cameras on them!).
As an aside, I often get criticized in my videos for not tipping out the attendants on my own or during group pulls. You can rest assured I always do, it’s just not the focus of my videos. For group pulls, I prefer to wait until the end when I can easily divide the money up equally amongst the group and give a generous tip.
I’ve also been asked how much to tip Valet. It’s totally up to the person and their budget. I used to tip $2 back when I was younger, but these days I now do $5-$10 depending on service. Again, from the time they go to get your car, to the time it is delivered – you’re probably looking at 10 minutes of service. What is that worth to you?
To some of you reading, I’m a cheap bum – and to others, I’m very generous. I don’t think it’s the amount of tip that is most important, but rather the gesture. But what I’m most interested is where you stand. How much do you think is appropriate? Let me know on Facebook.
And if you want to see a time when I gave a couple hundred dollars in tips, then you’ll enjoy watching my $10,000 win LIVE at Seneca! (I gave $200 because of the extra service I received).
Today's questions comes in from Sharon K who asks,
"I’m curious how you can film while playing, keep the view steady and still read comments. It
seems like your just using one cell. Also how do people do superchats and comments?"
Thank you so much for your Topic suggestion Sharon (enter yours below!). I will answer your question and take it one step further by explaining all of the equipment I use on my channel!
First and foremost Sharon and EVERYONE, you MUST subscribe to both my daily video Channel, Brian Christopher Slots, and my Live Stream Channel, BCSlots LIVE. Not just because I'm cool, but because you have to in order to comment or super chat. After you're subscribed, the comment box will remain for you to leave comments going forward, and a $ sign will appear beside that during live streams in order to send a Super Chat. Please also note that subscribing is free of charge and there is no fee to watch my videos on YouTube.
In terms of what I use to film, I'll go into full detail below with affiliate links to all products I use in case anyone is interested in using them for a new channel!
Reading the chat during a live stream is quite difficult when there are literally thousands of them in an hour. I also have to focus on the slot machine too haha. It is easy to miss a lot of comments, especially because I can only see 3 comments at a time. So I tend to scan the comments. There are a ton of repeat questions that I can easily ignore (like 'what casino are you at' or 'where's Marco?' lol), or questions that are way too personal which I also ignore haha. If something fun, unique or exciting catches my eye, then I'll try to read it out. Of course I always try to shout out Super Chats so I can thank that person for their support. I should also mention that Super Chats were created to help support the creator in their endeavors of providing quality content. That money helps to pay for my growing staff, equipment, travels and more. I am very strict about using my own income to use for my gambling only.
At the Casino I want to be as lean as possible. So it's just me, my iPhone X, my monopod with phone holder and extra battery cases that are fully charged (I have 4!). I love my monopod and now many channels use it too. It's much easier to carry with you than a tripod and less intrusive (although some security think it looks like it's a weapon!). It keeps it mainly steady with a little rockiness. I also own a gimbal stabilizer for those days that I am walking while filming. A rookie mistake is to run out of battery DURING a live stream (it has happened to me in the past. I'll sometimes bring my external battery charger as well with a long cord in case I need to charge while filming. I also encourage you to use a phone with a large harddrive on it, or you risk running out of space and not being able to film that giant jackpot you just hit (used to happen to me often!). If you can't afford a a phone with more space, then bring along a laptop or something else to upload your files to (however this takes time!). I used to do that for my first year - I'd just go up to my hotel room, unload and continue. One really great piece of advice - invest in an external hard drive! On one occasion I uploaded my videos to my laptop, deleted them off my phone and continued on my way. It wasn't until I was back home that I realized all of my videos were corrupt and I lost hours of footage (that cost me thousands of dollars!). So save those thousands and spend a few bucks to protect yourself by uploading your footage to more than one device or in the cloud. Even today, I keep doubles of everything until it's live on youtube.
To delve even deeper into how I produce, when I'm not at the casino I am busy at home filming commercials or live stream chats, editing, mailing out purchases from my store or prepping for upcoming events.
A quick list of my Green Screen Set-Up includes:
and the lighting to accompany it:
and for better audio:
Finally comes the editing process. There are many kinds of computers and programs to use, so feel free to use what you're comfortable with. This is my setup:
So as you can see, this job is quite costly. It took me many tries at purchasing the wrong equipment and failing - but I think I figured it out in the end. And now I can save you money from making the same mistakes I made!
To see all of the products on one page, visit my Amazon Affiliate Store. And for a more in depth view of starting your own YouTube Channel (Slots or otherwise), be sure to watch the Live Stream I did to give you all of my secrets!
I have received many, many blog suggestions from you all and a recurring one revolves around taxes. I was hesitant to respond as I am by no means an accountant, but I figured I'd offer a bit of guidance. The below is represented by my own experiences only within the US and playing slots.
The government wants all of your money. We already knew that. But there are ways of making sure they don't get their hands on it.
Basically ONLY when you win a Jackpot Handpay ($1200 or more), the casino is required to get the IRS involved and provide you with a W-2. Depending on the State or the Casino, they treat this differently. Some hold back 'estimated' taxes immediately, and others don't. In California and Nevada, they don't take them out. They will hand you a form stating your jackpot win and you are now required by law to file those wins as income at tax time. You will now be taxed at your tax bracket. Technically when you don't win a Jackpot, BUT leave a casino in the positive - you're suppose to claim that win too....technically...
Now for casinos who give you the OPTION to withhold taxes or not, what should you do? Well that all depends on how often you gamble, and how big the win is. If you're a regular gambler and you know for a fact that you'll be down overall at the end of the year - then don't have them take out the taxes on a small hand pay. You may as well collect the interest on that money instead of the government. My first year in the US, I told them to keep the taxes so that I'd have a nice surprise coming back at tax time...however the government took a year and a half to pay me back! No thank you! Now, if you win a large sum of $20,000 or higher (depending on what you normally bet/lose this will be a lot higher or lower for some readers), you may wish have the taxes withheld ONLY IF you can't trust yourself to spend that money. The worst thing you could possibly do is to keep all the money, spend it all, and then owe a lot at tax time that you can't afford. You have be honest with yourself and do what makes sense for you. Personally I'd have to win about $25,000 or more to consider holding back taxes or not, but I gamble multiple times a month.
To save yourself from owing anything at tax time, you must prove that you lost more money than you won. One way you can do that is by ALWAYS using your players card in the slot machine. This will track all the money that goes into the machines, and all the money that comes out. At the end of each year you can request a WIN/LOSS Statement from every casino you've played at, which (99 times out 100) will show that you lost more money. Granted, this is not a legal document, however it seems to work for most people. What you're supposed to do according to the IRS: "To deduct your losses, you must keep an accurate diary or similar record of your gambling winnings and losses and be able to provide receipts, tickets, statements, or other records that show the amount of both your winnings and losses." Talk about a buzz kill! But that's what they want. (Refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, for more information.)
For someone like me who visits dozens of casinos in a year, it's a part-time job in itself organizing all of this stuff - but with 50 hand pays a year, you better believe I do NOT want to be paying taxes on all of those 'wins'.
I urge you to take my notes with a grain of salt and to do your own research and to use a professional accountant...I am a professional slots player, aka I lose more than I win all the time. For a more in depth checkup on yourself, the IRS has provided an interview to help you determine how to claim your gambling wins/losses that you can follow.
Now to make the mood a little lighter, how about a few videos where I had to get the IRS involved because of a BIG WIN!
Now get out there and win some big jackpots!! (Just make sure you lose more so you don't owe any taxes, haha)
Brian Christopher is a popular YouTube Star specializing in Slot Machine Gambling Videos