Taxation On Blackjack Winnings

Gamblers understand the concept of win some, lose some. But the IRS? It prefers exact numbers. Specifically, your tax return should reflect your total year’s gambling winnings – from the big blackjack score to the smaller fantasy football payout. That’s because you’re required to report each stroke of luck as taxable income — big or small, buddy or casino.

If you itemize your deductions, you can offset your winnings by writing off your gambling losses.

I am a winning blackjack tournament player (have won $20K in the last 2 months alone) & am wondering my options on paying the taxes on my winnings. Aside from choosing the lower amount of tax to pay on 'Married Filing Jointly' & 'Married filing separately' can anyone tell me how tournament winnings are taxed & any other options I may have for lowering the amount I have to pay? Casino Winnings Are Not Tax-Free. Casino winnings count as gambling income and gambling income is always taxed at the federal level. That includes cash from slot machines, poker tournaments.

It may sound complicated, but TaxAct will walk you through the entire process, start to finish. That way, you leave nothing on the table.

How much can I deduct in gambling losses?

You can report as much as you lost in 2019 , but you cannot deduct more than you won. And you can only do this if you’re itemizing your deductions. If you’re taking the standard deduction, you aren’t eligible to deduct your gambling losses on your tax return, but you are still required to report all of your winnings.

Where do I file this on my tax forms?

Let’s say you took two trips to Vegas this year. In Trip A, you won $6,000 in poker. In the Trip B, you lost $8,000. You must list each individually, with the winnings noted on your return as taxable income and the loss as an itemized deduction in Schedule A. In this instance, you won’t owe tax on your winnings because your total loss is greater than your total win by $2,000. However, you do not get to deduct that net $2,000 loss, only the first $6,000.

Now, let’s flip those numbers. Say in Trip A, you won $8,000 in poker. In Trip B, you lost $6,000. You’ll report the $8,000 win on your return, the $6,000 loss deduction on Schedule A, and still owe taxes on the remaining $2,000 of your winnings.

What’s a W-2G? And should I have one?

A W-2G is an official withholding document; it’s typically issued by a casino or other professional gaming organization. You may receive a W-2G onsite when your payout is issued. Or, you may receive one in the mail after the fact. Gaming centers must issue W-2Gs by January 31. When they send yours, they also shoot a copy to the IRS, so don’t roll the dice: report those winnings as taxable income.

Don’t expect to get a W-2G for the $6 you won playing the Judge Judy slot machine. Withholding documents are triggered by amount of win and type of game played.

Expect to receive a W-2G tax form if you won:

  • $1,200 or more on slots or bingo
  • $1,500 or more on keno
  • $5,000 or more in poker
  • $600 or more on other games, but only if the payout is at least 300 times your wager

Tip: Withholding only applies to your net winnings, which is your payout minus your initial wager.

What kinds of records should I keep?

Keep a journal with lists, including: each place you’ve gambled; the day and time; who was with you; and how much you bet, won, and lost. You should also keep receipts, payout slips, wagering tickets, bank withdrawal records, and statements of actual winnings. You may also write off travel expenses associated with loss, so hang on to airfare receipts.

Use TaxAct to file your gambling wins and losses. We’ll help you find every advantage you’re owed – guaranteed.

More to explore:

The glittering lights and ringing bells of the casino. The dream of winning the lottery. Gambling can be a lot of fun for most people, and when your number finally comes up -- well, isn't that the whole point?

Of course, we all want to go home big winners with a wad of cash in our pockets. However, once you win, the IRS does, too. In fact, they expect and require you to report your gambling winnings. Gambling winnings (which the IRS refers to as 'income') can include:



Tax On Blackjack Winnings

  • Lotteries
  • Raffles
  • Horse/dog races
  • Noncash prizes -- like cars, trips or houses

What you need to report depends on how much you win, what type of gambling you were doing, and the ratio of your winnings to your wager.

Typically, you'll receive paperwork from the casino (or other source of your payout) to complete if you win a certain amount. You must provide your Social Security number and fill out IRS Form W-2G. This form is called 'Certain Gambling Winnings,' and allows you to report your winnings as income to Uncle Sam. You'll receive that paperwork if you win:

  • $600 or more from the state lottery, horse or dog races, jai alai or other wagering (but only if the winnings are 300 times the original wager)
  • $1,200 or more at a slot machine or bingo
  • $1,500 or more on keno (minus the amount you spent on tickets for the winning game)
  • $5,000 or more in poker tournaments

Typically in a winner situation of $5,000 or more (no matter what the game), the payee will not only require you to fill out the above-mentioned forms, but will also take 25 percent of your winnings up front to give directly to Uncle Sam [source: Bell]. If you refuse to fill out the form or provide your Social Security number, most establishments will take 28 percent of your winnings, in accordance with federal law [source: IRS]. Poker horror stories reddit.

You don't have to fill out the W2-G form for winnings on table games, including craps, blackjack, pai gow, baccarat and roulette. However, you still have to report those winnings when you file your regular income tax in April. On form 1040, on the 'Other Income' line (line 21) you report any other winnings, like prize or award money.

Here's where things can get a little more complicated. Just as you report your winnings to the IRS, you can also report your losses. On line 28 of form 1040, 'Other Miscellaneous Deductions,' if you have any gambling losses, note them there. However, your losses can't exceed your winnings. It's also important to note that you'll only want to do this if you're already itemizing your deductions and will end up deducting more than the standard [source: IRS]

All of this information illustrates why it's crucial to keep detailed records of your gambling -- both wins and losses -- especially if you do it often . Signing up for a player's card at a casino is a great idea, because the casino keeps an electronic record for you to easily access [source: Taxpertise].

The takeaway here is that the IRS treats any gambling or contest winnings as income. You should report all of it, even if the casino or other payee doesn't hand you a tax form to fill out. State tax laws apply too so be sure to check with your state's department of revenue to determine your liability [source: Ritchie].

Taxation On Blackjack Winnings


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Taxes On Blackjack Winnings


  • Bell, Kay. 'Reporting gambling winnings.' Bankrate. Feb. 3, 2014. (Sept. 22, 2014)
  • IRS. 'Gambling Winnings Are Always Taxable Income.' Aug. 19, 2014. (Sept. 22, 2014)
  • IRS. 'Instructions for Forms W-2G and 5754.' 2014. (Sept. 22, 2014)
  • Ritchie, Josh. 'How Are Gambling Winnings Taxed?' TurboTax Blog. March 30, 2012. (Sept. 22, 2014)
  • Roche, Yolanda S., E.A. and Roche, Roger C., E.A. 'The Taxman Cometh.' Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2014. (Sept. 22, 2014)
  • Taxpertise. 'Uncle Sam Wants His Cut on Your Gambling Winnings.' FOXBusiness. Sept. 20, 2013. (Oct. 30, 2014)