Friday, April 14, 2000 | 11:23 a.m.
Given a choice, most Las Vegans would probably rather spend this weekend playing the slots than filling out their IRS tax returns.
At least with the casino, your money has a sporting chance.
At four locals casinos, however, patrons have the opportunity to do both. Local tax preparation firm J K Jordan Tax Service offers its services at three North Las Vegas casinos -- Poker Palace, Mahoney's Silver Nugget and Opera House Casino. J K Jordan is also set up at Palace Station in Las Vegas.
Kevin Jordan, owner of the firm, says the marriage isn't as strange as it seems. To many Las Vegans, a casino is the center of social activity, he said.
For a tax preparer trying to get started in Las Vegas seven years ago, being affiliated with a favorite casino gave the former IRS agent instant credibility.
"It's a place where people go very devotedly," Jordan said. "People that go to these casinos are very regular. In Phoenix, it worked in places like grocery stores. In a casino, it brought in new clients.
"We don't have clients with big partnerships and trusts, or million-dollar stock portfolios. We do lower and middle income. (The casino operations) are certainly a significant percentage."
First to introduce the service was the Poker Palace in 1994, after a number of locals casinos dismissed the idea.
"I don't think they were sold on the idea, but we've been there ever since," Jordan said.
Brad Feitush, general manager of the Poker Palace, said it's been well received by customers.
The cost of the service starts at $49 and goes up depending on the complexity of the return.
When J K Jordan prepares a return for a casino customers, it files it electronically. Within two weeks, the IRS wires the refund into a Bank One account established for the customer. The check is then sent to the casino, where the customer can pick it up from J K Jordan employees and cash it at the cage, less return preparation fees.
The advantage, Jordan said, is that customers can get their checks cashed by casinos without paying a check-cashing fee.
"The biggest (number of users) don't have checking accounts, so it's very convenient to have it done here," Feitush said. "This time of year, we see a lot of income tax checks."
Since 1994, the service has expanded to include two of the North Las Vegas property's neighbors. Palace Station in Las Vegas is the largest to sign up so far, though parent company Station Casinos Inc. has no plans to expand the service to include its three other major Las Vegas properties.
"If any other customer needs it from any other property, we send them there (to Palace Station)," said Station spokesman Jack Taylor.
One place Jordan knows he'll never go is the Las Vegas Strip.
"People aren't coming on vacation and bringing their tax stuff with them," Jordan said.