www.taxprofessionals.com - TaxProfessionals.com
Posted by Flynn Financial Group Inc

Gambling Winnings, Losses & Taxes: Do I Have to Pay Taxes?

Gambling Winnings, Losses & Taxes: Do I Have to Pay Taxes?

State laws generally govern the gaming industry. These laws can be very or less strict, depending on how the state views the industry, and most laws are aimed at promoting responsible gambling among gamers. An important part of these laws concerns winnings deducted from casino taxes. While some states specifically set the tax deduction rate for gambling income, some do not deduct taxes at all. Therefore, players should be aware of the laws governing gambling activities in their respective states, particularly concerning taxes deducted from their returns. Therefore, we came up with this detailed and comprehensive analysis of gambling income and tax deductions from different states'. 

US casinos and tax revenues

In the United States, casino winnings are taxed in full by the federal government and sometimes by the state government. Taxes are deductible from both cash and non-cash statements, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the organization burdened with this responsibility. Therefore, before placing your bets, you should familiarize yourself with gambling tax laws to avoid IRS problems. Some of the information you should consider includes taxing casino returns, reporting casino returns, dividing up gambling winnings, keeping gambling records, and more.

How casino winnings are taxed

As mentioned above, the federal government levies taxes on cash earnings, not cash. Winnings from betting on bingo, keno, sweepstakes, raffles, lotteries, and slots, including non-cash winnings such as travel and vehicles, are taxable. It is the FMV of the non-monetary gains that are taxed.

If your deductions are itemized, your gambling losses can be deducted on Schedule A. But your losses can only be deducted up to the amount of declared gambling winnings. Then you should have:

  • Correct recording of losses and wins in bets.

  • Verifiable report on gambling activity.

If you earn money shown below, the payer will report the returns to the IRS using form W2-G. Income includes:

  • $1,200 or more in returns won in bingo or slot machine games.

  • $1500 or more in cash won in the Keno game.

  • $5,000 or more in poker tournament winnings.

  • $600 or more if your return is 300(or more) of your stake.

  • Returns subject to the federal withholding tax requirement.

To do this, you need your Social Security number and the W2-G form that reports your returns to the IRS. The 25% rate is generally deducted from bank statements as tax-deductible.

The declaration of your returns via the W2-G form does not apply to all gambling returns. The W2-G form does not apply to winnings in table games such as roulette, junk, blackjack, and baccarat, regardless of the money won. However, failing to meet your income using Form W2-G does not exempt you from paying your income tax or reporting your income to the IRS. 

Reporting Casino Gambling Winnings 

Your tax return must contain all of the casino's winnings. This is necessary to avoid disputes with the IRS, as income from online gambling is part of total income. In other words, you (income + gaming income + other income = total income). Non-monetary gains should be reported as other income and taxed at their fair market value. This is why you are asked for more details on annual gambling winnings and losses on bets each time you file your return interview.

You have a legal obligation to report all cash prizes, winnings, losses, income, or prizes you have won during the year, regardless of the amount. However, you don't have to pay taxes for all income. Itemizing your deductions will give you the benefit of claiming your losses.

Your deductible income tax rate remains the same regardless of your income. It doesn't matter whether you win $2,000 or $400,000, as the gambling fees are not progressive. In some cases, the casino already deducts the fee (25%) before your winnings are paid. However, if you do not provide the tax identification number to the payer, 28% of the income will be withheld instead of the normal 25%. The expectation is if your winnings minus your stake exceed $5,000 or at least 300 times your stake.

In the case of a professional gambler, they are required to report their gambling income and expenses in Schedule C. You are not allowed to use Schedule A because the taxable percentage of his gambling income is equal to the normal deductible income.

Report betting losses

Also, gambling losses must be reported for tax purposes. If you are honest about gambling losses, you can save money because the Internal Revenue Service will allow you to deduct gambling losses. Show your winnings and losses and itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, which will give you the benefit of claiming your losses. It is better to report losses separately from profits than to provide a net amount.

The 2% limit does not apply to lost bets. The loss of bets in Schedule A is usually deducted as miscellaneous deductions. However, your losses can only be deducted up to the amount of your reported income, as it may be impossible to deduct all losses. For example, if you have a total gambling return of $10,000 in 2017 and losses of $10,500, you will only deduct $10,000 from your losses.

You cannot enjoy all of the tax benefits if the itemized tax deductions provided do not exceed the standard deductions. The total itemized deductions include: donations, medical expenses and mortgages.

Tax deduction for illegal gambling

Tax is deducted from the proceeds of illegal gambling. As stated by the AGA, the association responsible for eliminating gambling and illegal activities, Americans spend more than $150 billion on illegal sports betting. Although sports betting is banned in some states, states such as Oregon, Montana, Nevada, and Delaware have legalized it and have imposed taxes on illegal gambling activities.

Keep game records

The IRS requires you to keep complete records of bets, winnings, and losses. You should also keep other information and documents, such as Form 5754, Form W2-G, bank withdrawals, canceled and replaced checks, credit records, wagering slips, payment receipts, and the statement of real income offered by the payer or the bookmaker. Your profits and losses are compared to these essential documents when losses are deducted.

Information to be kept for any profit or loss includes:

  • Date of wins or losses

  • Name and address of the bookmaker

  • Names of people available during betting activities.

  • The number of gains and losses

  • Type of betting activity

You can also provide the following information as a declaration of your winnings and losses for certain betting transactions:

  • For bingo, you must provide documentation of the amount collected on winning tickets, cost of tickets purchased, the number of games played, and receipt from the casinos.

  • For Keno, copies of casino check receipts and casino credit records must be provided. Copies of purchased casino verified Keno tickets must also be provided.

  • For lotteries, a record of winnings, losses, data, payment slips, bank statements, and tickets purchased and not redeemed must be provided.

  • For racing games, a record must be provided of the value of the bet placed, races, number of winning tickets, number of tickets lost, as well as refunded tickets and payment statements. Racing games include dog racing, harnesses, and horse racing.

  • For slot machines, documentation of playing time, machine number, and winning dates must be provided.       

  • The payor's credit card details must be provided for table games, specifying how the credit was issued and the table number used to play. Table games include baccarat, blackjack, craps, poker, wheel of luck, and roulette.


Several countries have laws governing the gambling industry; one aspect of these laws relates to casino tax deductions. While some countries, like the United States, deduct tax on casino winnings, others do not. In the United States, all forms of gambling are taxable, legal, or illegal. You should also keep records of your winnings and losses, including evidence of gambling activity. This is essential when deducting the losses from gambling during the tax year.



Flynn Financial Group Inc
Contact Member