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Gambling Terminology (According to the IRS)
The following terms and their definitions are taken from the IRS and they use these terms in their explanations of gambling.

For gamblers terminology, please click here.
For casino game terminology, please click here.


The amount of gaming activity happening in a casino, sporting event or specific game.

To accept wagers on the outcome of a sport or similarly uncertain event. (Race and Sports Book)

Also called the casino cage or cashier. A centralized enclosure where the records of transactions are kept, money is counted. Chips or tokens can be purchased or exchanged for cash.

Cage Credit
A condition allowing players to sign credit slips, or markers, for cash or chips.

Card Rooms
Card rooms refer to gaming establishments where the principal activity is poker-related games, either live or video. These establishments typically do not offer slot machine play or other table games such as blackjack, craps, or roulette. These establishments are governed and regulated by the state in which they are located.

A building or large room devoted to gambling games or wagering on a variety of events.

Casino Cage
Also called the cage. The secured area in a gaming establishment where records of transactions, money, and chips are kept.

Casino Gaming Industry
All of the activities related to legalized gambling and the operation of legal gambling establishments.

Also known as a CHECK used to represent money. At one time, chips were made of ivory or bond, but are now commonly made of composition, clay, ceramic or plastic.

Coin Operated Gaming Device
Any mechanical or electronic machine designed to accept coins and to pay coins under certain conditions, especially a slot machine, or pinball, video poker, or horse race machine.

Complimentary (also known as "Comp")
A gift given by managers to favored patrons, such as meals, room, or show reservation.

Credit Line
Also shortened to Line. The amount of money a player has deposited in the casino cage, or the amount of money the casino manager is willing to advance to a player.

The amount wagered and lost at a table or machine.

Floating Casino
Taxpayers in the gaming industry include individuals, partnerships, corporations, and joint ventures operating gaming casinos on various facilities located in or near United States inland river waterways, river basins, channels, lakes, ponds, and cofferdams. These operations are conducted under licenses issued by local and state gaming agencies. Often, state law prohibits gaming on land-based facilities and requires that the gaming facilities be on water. Operating casinos on the water are commonly referred to as "Riverboat Casinos." Operating casinos in water adjacent to land are commonly referred to as "Dockside Casinos." Taxpayers operating Riverboat or Dockside Casinos conduct legalized gaming activities that include blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, baccarat, keno and slot machines.

Gaming Activity
Involvement in gambling. The term is usually applied to legal gambling practices or involvement.

Gaming Commission
A state or city agency devoted to regulating legal gambling operations.

Gaming Control Act
A state statute that legalizes certain forms of gambling and provides guidelines for the operation and taxation of gambling games.

Gaming Control Board
A state or county agency that enforces policies set by the gaming commission, investigates allegations of cheating and provides background information on persons or corporations requesting licensing as operators of gambling establishments.

The casino.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is issued to nonresident aliens who do not have a Social Security Number and is used for tax purposes only.

Land Based Casino
A land based casino is one which is located on land and is owned either by individuals and/or corporations which have their gambling operation overseen by a state gaming control board or state gaming commission. Some land based casinos are limited by state law as to the maximum amount of a single wager or bet.

A lottery is a game of chance based upon the random selection of numbers. Generally, lotteries are only legally operated by states, other governmental entities, or not-for-profit organizations.

Evidence of indebtedness by a player to the casino. A marker is usually a counter check. In craps, the term refers to a small rubber and plastic disk used to indicate whether a point has been made and mark the number of the point until made or lost.

A system of betting on races, or events, whereby the winners divide the total amount bet, after deducting management expenses, in proportion to the sums they have wagered individually.

The area surrounded by a group of gaming tables.

Progressive Jackpot
In slot machines, a payout amount that increases with each coin played until the total amount is won.

Race Tracks
A race track (includes dog and horse racing, and Jai Alai) is one in which there is regular race track betting activity at a live race track and there may be video gambling machines located within the racing establishment premises. Race tracks are governed by the individual states.

To remove money from the profits before it is officially counted.

Slot Machine
A mechanical or electronic gaming device into which a player may deposit coins and from which certain numbers of coins are paid out when a particular configuration of symbols appear on the machine.

Also called a toke. A sum of money given to a dealer, cocktail waitress, or other employee of an establishment for efficient or well-performed service.

Tribal Gaming
In 1988 Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to:

  1. Provide a statutory basis for the operation of gaming by Indian tribes to promote tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments;
  2. Provide a statutory basis for the regulation of Indian gaming to ensure the tribes are the primary beneficiaries; and
  3. Establish
    1. Independent federal regulatory authority for Indian gaming,
    2. Federal standards for Indian gaming, and
    3. The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), to meet congressional concerns regarding Indian gaming and protect such gaming as a means of generating tribal revenue.

The term "gaming" has been divided by IGRA into three classes; Class I gaming is defined as consisting of: (a) social games that have prizes of minimal value and (b) traditional tribal games planned in connection with tribal ceremonies or celebrations. Class II gaming primarily includes: bingo (whether or not it is electronically enhanced), pull-tabs, lotto, punch boards, tip jars, instant bingo, and any non-banking card games allowed by state law. Class III gaming primarily includes slot machines, casino games, banking card games, dog racing, horse racing, and lotteries.

All tribal governments conducting or sponsoring gaming activities need to be aware of the federal requirements for income tax, employment tax, and excise tax. For further information reference the IRS Indian Tribal Governments office web site.

Something staked on an uncertain outcome.


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