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Winning Big in Vegas: How to Handle Your Casino and Horse Track Winnings at Tax Time

I was in Vegas this past weekend and saw lots of happy faces.  If you've ever won big at the casinos or horse tracks, this one's for you.........

Casinos and horse tracks are required to report to IRS certain winnings if you win big.  That means you will have to pay tax on any amounts reported.

But here's the tip:  you can offset these winnings with any losses you have.  Let's say you won $5k at a poker table or $1500 at the slots.  You can take a deduction for any amounts you gambled throughout the year at other times but didn't win on.  So perhaps you went to Vegas and bet $1k that weekend and didn't win. That $1k is a deduction against the winnings.  

No one obviously wants to keep track of their losses (no fun in that!).  But if you are somewhat of a regular,  keep a loose record of amounts spent and won.  And if you win big and are the proud owner of an irs tax form, then at least you have a record and can help me to help you at tax time.

Here are the thresholds for IRS reporting:

  • HORSES....... Winnings are over $600 and are more than 300 times your bet

  • SLOTS.......... Winnings of over $1200

  • POKER......... Winnings of over $5k

Hope this helps!

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