Blackjack players normally cheer when the dealer busts, but they could be griping in Massachusetts casinos if the high roller at a table wins a big hand and the game screeches to a stop for a 10-minute paperwork break.
Under one interpretation of the state casino law, table games could be covered by the state tax reporting and withholding requirements that have bedeviled the local racing and simulcast industries for a year, potentially causing delays every time a player collects a payout of $600 or greater — which is practically every hand in a casino’s high-stakes gambling room.
Slot machines would almost certainly be affected by the law, which requires tax filings and a 5 percent withholding for each jackpot above that amount, a low threshold compared with other states and federal reporting requirements.
With the state’s first casino licenses due to be awarded in the next few months, some of the biggest names in the industry are raising concerns that the stringent reporting requirements will annoy slot players, destroy high-end play by “whales” who make large individual wagers, and drive potential customers out of state where requirements are less cumbersome.
“The machine will literally lock up and the customer will have to fill out paperwork,” said Eric Schippers, a senior vice president at Penn National Gaming, one of three companies competing for Massachusetts’ sole slot parlor license.
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