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I've been watching a few tournaments and I was wondering: how do international poker players take tournament prize money home?

For example, winner of 50th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2019: Hossein Ensan won 10M$. He is from Germany.

Does he just travel with 10M cash? That wouldn't be safe, right? But as a foreigner, there are probably restrictions on opening bank accounts in the USA. What is the go-to move in this case? Does the casino just send him a wire-transfer with 10M?

Thanks!

  • Great question. I also wonder how taxes are applied and how much money is left for the player depending on where they are from and where they play (how much they win is probably also a factor). – jannis Oct 25 '19 at 7:34
  • If you win in Vegas(a big amount say from a WSOP event/jackpot), your local national taxes are applied, they take your details and they withhold it for tax purposes I believe. We don't have gambling taxes in Ireland so they never applied anything to me, so I'm just going on what has happened to friends. – Grinch91 Oct 25 '19 at 12:27
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All of the below is just my own personal opinion and not to be taken as legal or financial advice.

When you win, there are two concerns for the casino to release your money. First is taxes and the second is getting the money to you. The money part is easy, they will basically give it to you however you want. You can take a check, chips, cash, a wire transfer, a combination of all of those, etc. But before any of that happens, they want to work out the taxes.

Basically, they want to make sure that there is a federal number assigned to you so that they can tell the IRS (the US tax agency) that they paid X money to you and that they either collected the tax or they need to go to you to collect the tax. In the case of US residents, we have a Social Security Number (SSN) and once you give that to the casino they release your money.

As for people who do not have a SSN, you can get what is known as an ITIN and that will serve as a valid number that you can give to the casino. An ITIN is also issued by the IRS and you can get one online in just a few minutes.

Of course, all of the above is just my own personal opinion and not to be taken as legal or financial advice.

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  • This answer applies to the US. In Canada, for example, gambling winnings are tax-free. The casino will cut you a check or wire transfer to your bank. You will have to deal with the proper declarations of your income in your country. – Roman Mik Aug 24 at 4:04

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