What are Lottery Casinos and How Do They Differ?

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Sticker on a New York Lottery video lottery terminal

As we’ve been discussing on the site since launch, there are different types of machines other than slots, even though the machines all look like slots on the surface. These have included Bingo Machines and Historic Horse Racing machines. Today, we’re going to talk about yet another type: Lottery machines.

Can you explain a “lottery casino.” I don’t understand why I don’t get a tax form if I get a jackpot. I filled out a w9 once but they don’t give me the usual W2G. I am in New York and Resorts World Hudson Valley is a lottery casino.

Kathy

We have a bit of experience with these as Brian has previously played at Empire City Casino in Yonkers, another New York Lottery-linked casino, and in fact the head writer of Flip The Switch first met Brian there in 2017!

But we digress. The New York Lottery casinos work differently than other types of machines noted above. Instead of a random number generator determining the outcome from within the machine, the outcome comes from outside the machine, similar to Bingo and Historic Horse Racing machines. 

In the case of the New York Lottery overseen casinos, the outcomes are decided more akin to an electronic versions of scratchers or pull tabs. In that model, a set number of outcomes are established, and each time you hit spin, it’s like buying a scratch ticket from the stack of those remaining. The ticket is bought, the outcome confirmed, and then the reels on the slot showcase an outcome that matches what your prize, if anything, would be.

Washington State’s system, we’re told, is not exactly the same, but similar, and you often see similar games in both New York Lottery and Washington State casinos as a result.

One weird quirk about this scenario is you have a limited number of outcomes. For games with much more complex structures, like Ultimate Fire Link, this can lead to bonuses repeating themselves.

We’ve spoken in the past with a Rudie who is a regular to those casinos, and she showed us three distinct bonuses where the exact same prize was won on the same bet level, with all the balls ultimately appearing in all the exact same spots. This is the main limitation of this sort of structure, and it means not all game types work out well in that environment.

As far as jackpots and paperwork, they tend to follow the rules around state lotteries since they’re regulated under that framework, as opposed to slot machines. So you actually get a “prize voucher” when you win at least $600 (which happened to us) and go from there, but when they issue paperwork can also differ because of the different regulations. 

That’s one reason we always advise to consult with a tax professional familiar with gambling law quirks when you win a prize like that, so they can ensure you file correctly!

They follow other lottery-specific rules too, such as the minimum age to play being 18, just like buying a scratcher. So ultimately there’s more parallels with other lottery-run scenarios, which hopefully makes sense.

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