Cruise Ship Casino Winnings Are Taxable | Ways You Can Report Them

Cruise Ship Casino

Sun, sand, and exotic destinations are not the only things to do on cruise ships. One of the most common ways to pass the time at sea is to gamble. Savvy passengers, however, know how to get the most out of their cruise casino dollars without going into debt.

Are cruise ship casino winnings taxable? Yes, cruise ship casino winnings are taxable. All gambling winnings earned by US citizens, regardless of location, are taxable income.

There is more to know about cruise ship casinos winning taxes, which I will discuss further in this article. Aside from that, I will also discuss some cruise ship casino games, including some gambling tips.

Cruise Ship Casino

When it comes to gambling winnings, a cruise ship casino will ask for your identification, such as your Social Security Number. They will also issue you some paperwork that you need to submit to the Internal Revenue Services.

However, some cruise ship casino winnings no longer require paperwork. Table games that do not meet or exceed a certain level are one example.

The responsibility will no longer be on the cruise’s side but citizens. The citizen will be the one responsible for reporting winnings on his or her federal tax return.

Jackpots And Form W-2G

If the gambler wins more than $1,200 in one payout, the gambling facility will issue an IRS Form W-2G. The case is also the same when the gambler wins a table game with 300-to-1 odds or more.

The facility will ask the winner to provide correct identification.

  1. Social Security Number
  2. Home address
  3. Age and photo IDs

The winner needs to fill up a form from the IRS that the gaming facility will provide. He or she has to file and report gambling winnings on his or her taxes using Form 1040.

Reporting Gambling Winnings On Form 1040

You may think that since cruise ships are on international waters, US citizens no longer need to file gambling taxes. This information is false. As I mentioned above, all US citizens need to file gambling taxes.

You may be a bit confused. However, even winnings below $1,200 and no longer requires a Form W-2G needs to be reported to the IRS. The report will come in an IRS Form 1040, as mentioned above.

Here are the games included:

  1. Blackjack
  2. Baccarat
  3. Roulette
  4. Craps
  5. Poker
  6. Bingo and keno wins
  7. Race and sports betting
  8. Slot machine winnings.

Cruise Casino Reporting Exceptions

Cruise casinos do not legally need to issue a Form W-2G in these two cases.

  1. Gambling wins as a result of jackpot wins of no more than $1,200.
  2. Bingo or keno wins amounting to no more than $600.

Cruise ship casinos rarely report table game wins. The amount of bet wagered, lost, or won is hard to take note of. It is more complicated when players move from table to table.

Casinos, however, need to follow the anti-money laundering efforts. They must make IRS reports of $10,000 cash reports transactions in one day by one person.

Tax Withholding

There are two kinds of cruise ship casino facilities:

  1. Cruise ship casinos that provide you the chance to have on-the-spot winning taxes deduction.
  2. Cruise ship casinos that allow you to take your entire winnings and let you pay your taxes after the cruise.

25% is the amount the payer needs to provide using their Social Security Number on income tax on gambling. But it would rise to 28% if you do not give your Social Security information and claim your winnings later on your own.

Deducting Gambling Losses

You cannot forward gambling losses and offset winning in another year. The Internal Revenue Services take a strong line when it comes to gambling income. The agents in audit will no longer believe you lost all your gambling wins if you do not support sufficient documents.

You need to present proper documentation to prove gambling losses. Never throw ATM receipts, losing tickets, canceled checks, credit slips, and bank statements.

Casino Games

Ocean-based casinos offer several land-based casino games.

  • Roulette
  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Video poker
  • Craps
  • Slot machines
  • Progressive prize machines connected to all of the cruise line’s ships.

Different denominations are available, from small nickel and penny slots and dollar table games to five dollar slots and much higher priced tables.

Owing to a lack of interest in such locations, cruise ship casinos do not usually offer exclusive high roller stakes tables. Most travelers can spend a few dollars at a restaurant now and then. However, high minimums discourage those who would rather not.

Lottery Tickets

Many cruise ships sell scratch-off lottery tickets, but they are usually only available after the bingo games have ended. Tickets range in price from $1 to $5. Many passengers find them to be a fun way to warm up before playing more expensive games.

Casino Shore Excursions

Many cruise destinations offer visits to land-based casinos if gambling on the ship is not enough. Among the biggest casinos in the Caribbean is the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in Nassau.

A day in Monaco and its glittering temptations may be included in a cruise to France. A tour of Athens may include a visit to the Loutraki Casino, one of Europe’s largest casinos.

Bingo Games

Gambling on cruises is not restricted to casinos. Bingo games are now available in lounges or other high-capacity meeting rooms. Space may be at a discount. Interested passengers should arrive early.

Cards are usually sold in sets of three or as a single card. They are at a slight discount compared to individual cards. There are no dabbers or chips needed. The cards have punch holes over the numbers, folding the necessary space when the number is called.

However, be careful not to delete the center free space number. It will invalidate the card and result in a loss. Passengers can play bingo games for cash prizes, big jackpots, or free bingo cards.

Tips For Gambling On Cruises

Seasoned gamblers can be unsure of how to play on a cruise ship. Remember these tips for a relaxing and enjoyable gaming experience:

  • The cashiers are usually found in the casino’s back area.

  • Casinos, unlike onboard shopping boutiques and tour reservations, are cash-only establishments. They do not allow travelers to charge gambling to their cabins.

  • Casinos are only open while the ship is at sea or when local laws allow gambling in port.

  • Table games and both high and low denomination slot machines are usually found in the casino’s central area. For easy access, moderate machines are located in the center.

  • For gambling on board, different ships can have different age requirements. Consult a travel agent for relevant cruise ship regulations.

  • Slot tournaments and other special events sell out fast, so you can need to reserve your spot ahead of time.

  • When the casino is closed, the staff assisting during the game provides inexperienced gamblers with free gambling lessons.


You must register and pay income tax on all of your worldwide income. The cruise line would likely use international waters as an excuse to avoid sending out W-2G forms.

That doesn’t mean the money isn’t taxable. It just means the IRS would have a more challenging time catching you if you don’t report it.

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