First, let’s clarify what a jackpot is for those who don’t know. When you win $1,200 or more on a single wager, the IRS needs to be notified of the win, and it’s generally handled through a jackpot process. That includes capturing basic info about you (including your social security number) and generating a W2G document you must report during your next year’s tax filings.
If you don’t have your players card in, the same process is filed, as the regulations require that the jackpot be reported, regardless of whether your card was in or not. So, they will still take your ID and social security number, just as they do with a players card in.
Many casinos will see if you have a players card, and will still link your wins to the card. So even if your play wasn’t recorded by using your card within the machine, your jackpot probably will. This isn’t universal, but because many casinos record it in a system linked to the players data, it’s often done both as a courtesy for the player if they wish to retrieve the document later, and so the data is all nice and organized.
If you don’t have your ID and social security number, that can pose a problem, given that regulation that the win must be reported. Generally casinos will give a window of time for players who may need to go home and get their ID, but this is where the rules can diverge based on local regulations and casino policy.
So in the end, the players card doesn’t matter. But it’s generally a good idea to have a valid ID with you at the casino in case you do achieve a jackpot while you’re there.
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