The IRS makes paying taxes fairly simple when you win a jackpot on a slot machine, video poker or at bingo. When you hit a jackpot of $1,200 or more, a casino employee will come pay you by hand and give you a W-2G form proving your winnings for tax purposes. If you gradually reach $1,200, you won't be given an individual form since W-2G forms are held just for jackpots. The “magic number” for Keno is a $1,500 jackpot. The IRS also requires all poker tournament sponsors to report when a competitor has winnings of more than $5,000.
Taxes on table games (like blackjack) and sports betting aren’t as simple as the other games in a casino. The IRS allows you to report these winnings on the honor system. Casinos don’t keep specific records on all table games and sports betting so it’s up to you to keep accurate record of your wins and losses, even if you use a players club card. The same win and loss write-offs can apply here, but you must submit logs.
Again, consult a tax advisor to discuss how gambling wins and losses affect you; especially, if they're substantial, one way or the other. There's no blanket statement for gambling and taxes because everybody's situation is different. The information we shared here is just that. You're responsible for making your own assessment of your specific circumstances and seeking the appropriate counsel. Yeah, taxes are a serious deal.
[PHOTO: Calvin Ayre]