Taxes on Your Gambling Winnings – You Owe Uncle Sam a Piece No Matter How Much You Won

When you’re gambling at a casino, you may win a few bucks here and there and leave with more dollars than you brought with you. It may be as little as $20, or as much as $1,000. When cashing out you were never presented you with a form to declare your winnings to the IRS. If you think you’re home free, think again. As a U.S. citizen, you owe Uncle Sam a piece of the action regardless of the amount. Many players think that just because they were not given a tax form there’re home free. Not so.

So, what does get reported to the IRS? Larger amounts that are won at gambling establishments such as casinos, lottery retailers, horse race tracks and off-track betting parlors. They will issue a form W-2G, one copy to you and one to the IRS. Here are some details:

Machine Games

$1,200 or more won at a slot machine, video poker, video keno, video blackjack, etc. This only applies to a single jackpot payout amount. Accumulated credits are credit meter wins and do not count.

$1,200 or more won at a live bingo game will also trigger a W-2G, and $1,500 or more at a live keno game (minus your wager amounts).

The casino will not withhold any gambling taxes from awards in the $1,200 to $1,500 range provided you present a valid photo ID and social security number. If you do not provide this information, 28% will be withheld.

Live Table Games

Winnings from live table games are not reportable on a W-2G, except if there is a very large prize amount offered for a small wager, such as a dollar bet for a shot at a progressive table jackpot, where the winning odds are over 300/1 and the win is more than $600. For example, Caribbean Stud offers a huge progressive jackpot for wagering only $1, if you’re lucky enough to hit a Royal Flush.

If you win $600 or more in any other wagering game, such as horse, dog racing or sports betting, and the amount is at least 300 times your bet minus your wager amount, the establishment will gift you with a W-2G. If your winnings exceed $5,000 and the amount is more than 300 times your bet, 25% will be withheld. The same withholding percentage also applies to any cash prize of $5,000 or more in poker or other card tournaments minus the buy-in amount.

Winnings on state lottery games such as lotto, numbers, scratch-offs, etc. can be collected at your local retailer up to $600. Any more and you’ll have to visit the main lottery office in your community, where a W-2G also awaits you. This information is from the New York lottery. Other states may have different rules.

Winnings on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests at this time are considered games of skill. DFS sites will issue a 1099-MISC, not a W-2G for winnings of $600 or more.

Video Lottery Terminals (VLT)

$600 or more in winnings from any class II ​Video Lottery Terminal game will also invite a W-2G. This includes any winnings on machines at jurisdictions that are operated by a state lottery. For example, New York State has nine race tracks with VLT’s that are pseudo slot and video poker machines.

Deductions

The good news in all of this is that gambling losses are tax deductible but only up to the amount of your winnings, and only if you itemize deductions on your tax return.

The IRS wants to make sure that you indeed lost what you claim you lost, so a record of all your losses is required. Win- loss statements are available from most major casinos at the end of the year, provided you used your player’s club card when playing machines. Save those losing scratch-off tickets, Lotto, Powerball, and Mega-Millions tickets, daily numbers, Quick Draw, OTB, etc.

For losses on Daily Fantasy Sports contests, the IRS position at this time is unclear. Because of the skill factor, your winnings are in the hobby category. Therefore, any losses would not be deductible, although this situation could change at any time.

You don’t have to record the tickets on your tax statement, but they may be necessary if you are audited. All the IRS wants to know is the type of wager, the amount of the bet and the date of the transaction.

Always play it safe and check with your tax preparer for your personal needs.

Online Gambling – Its Advantages and Disadvantages

Online gambling has become a popular game now. The history of online gambling is not very old. This game has both a good and a bad side. In certain cases playing online gambling is better than playing at live casinos and in some ways it is not. We can understand this better if we look at the various pros and cons of online gambling.

Let us first see the pros. The market of online casino and gambling is a highly competitive one. Some of the sites offer big bonuses that helps in attracting the players and they can make money. Besides, a number of sites offer various types of promotions and rewards for keeping their players.

As compared to live casinos, the online casino games have better odds and more forgiving rules as they do not posses the same overhead costs as is found in case of real casinos. The greatest advantage is that you can play it directly from your home if you have an internet access there. You do not need to travel for playing the game online.

Playing online casino games also keeps you away from the huge crowd that is found at live casino parlors. You can play at your own convenience at anytime of the day you feel like. There is no one to distract you while you are on with a game. Besides, you also do not require giving tip to the staff. Thus it helps in saving your pocket.

These were so far the positive sides of playing online gambling. Let us now take a look at its negative sides. The withdrawals associated with the game can take a longer time to come. This is not the case with live casinos. However, the money in online gambling gets transferred directly to the bank account.

Another major problem with online gambling and casino is that you do not get customer service instantly, which is true for live casinos. The online casino sites generally have telephonic support or live chat team for the players. However, the service is not that fast.

If you want to try out a variety of games at different online casino gaming sites, then you need to deposit money at each of them rather than carrying the cash around that is possible at live casinos. It depends upon you whether you find it comfortable to play at a live casino parlor or an online casino.

How to Be Lucky When Gambling in a Casino, Poker Game, Lottery Or Horse Racing Using Proven Methods

Luck is the most important part of gambling, as anyone who has spent any time in a casino, at the race track betting on horse racing, playing the lottery, poker, blackjack or any game of chance can tell you. Some people seem to be luckier than others and demonstrate the truth behind the old saying, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” How true that is. Good luck will get you through almost anything and no matter how deep you may appear to be in the soup, you may come out smelling like a rose if you have good fortune.

Of course, most people believe that it is impossible to change destiny or fortune so it is impossible to control your luck, but that may not actually be the case. Science has demonstrated that there are times when people win more and lose less. In his book, “The Conscious Universe,” Professor Dean Radin analyzed the results of four years of data from casinos. He was looking for a correlation between the phases of the moon, strength of the Earth’s geomagnetic fields, and casino payout percentages. During the full moon the Earth’s geomagnetic field is usually at its weakest. Professor Radin believes there may be some connection between the Earth’s magnetic fields, the moon, human psychic ability, and gambling.

One scientific study that Prof. Radin mentions in his book did demonstrate that people seem to be more psychic during the full moon, then their abilities seem to wane during the quarter moons and increase again during the new moon. This fluctuation in psychic ability seems to also follow luck because four years of casino data showed that payouts increased at the time of the full moon and decreased at other times for most casino games studied. Perhaps our intuition or psychic ability really does help us to win, whether it is picking the slot machine that is about to pay out, or knowing whether to hit a 13 at the blackjack table, or which horse will win the race. Poker players can certainly use intuition to their benefit.

The conclusion he reached was that if gamblers avoided the casinos during the quarter moons and gambled around the time of the full moon, they would decrease their losses or even win a profit. Of course, these are just generalizations and should not be considered an inducement to gamble, but they show promise for really understanding how to be lucky.

Lotteries showed a different trend. It appears that Pick 3 style lotteries pay out more during the times of the quarter moons and lower payouts during the full moon. Fluctuations in the magnetic fields of the earth, once again, seemed to have an effect. While the phase of the moon or strength of the earth’s fields will not guarantee you a winner, it may be a good idea to start making your winning and losing days on a calendar and watch where they fall according to the moon’s phases.

Other studies have shown that when people have a positive attitude and expect to win, they actually do win more often. That makes sense, doesn’t it? If you expect to win you may make choices that will have a positive effect. For instance, if you are in a casino and looking for a blackjack table and expect to lose, you won’t be too fussy about which table you sit at. But if you expect to win you may take more time selecting the table and finding one where the gamblers seem to be happier and smiling, meaning they are winning and the table is paying out better. You may not do it consciously, but you could do this and other things subconsciously just because you have a winning attitude and expect to win. We make a lot of choices when gambling whether we are at the race track betting on horse racing or choosing a place or game in a casino or even selecting lottery numbers.

So my advice to you is that you keep track of your winning and losing days and the phases of the moon. Also, keep a positive attitude. If you expect to win, perhaps it is a good day to take a chance, but if you expect to lose or just don’t feel lucky, maybe it would be better to save your money until you feel the earth’s fields, moon, or just plain old luck are working for you.

Mini-Baccarat – The Unsung Hero of Casino Gambling

The European version of Baccarat has been around 150 years give or take. It’s distant cousin, Chemin De Fer, played under an entirely different set of rules is far older and was a game favored by Europe’s royalty and wealthy industrialists. This is most likely where it got the mystique of elegance as an exclusively “high roller’s” game.

In the mid 1950’s Tommy Renzoni ran the Baccarat game at the Capri Hotel & Casino in Havana, Cuba. It was said he discovered that particular variation of the game being played in Argentina at the time.

In those days the mob ran the casinos in Havana and it was a popular resort for the very wealthy and Hollywood’s elite. In 1959 when Castro overthrew the Batista regime, he promptly closed the casino doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a sweet deal for a while but all good things must end.

The timing was perfect though, because Tommy Renzoni was brought in for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, through a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Vegas that is played today.

The American version of the game is as simple as they come. You choose to wager on either the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. Pretty much a coin toss. The only other choice would be to bet on a tie hand appearing (a bet no sane person would make although I see it done all the time). It’s an even money bet on either side with the exception of a small commission charged on winning bank hands.

The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the bank hand winning slightly more often than the player hand. Without the 5% commission the outcome would be tilted toward the bank side.

The object of the game is to get closest to a 9 total. All tens and face cards have a zero value, therefore a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. There is no need to even know the rules governing the drawing of cards because they are completely automatic and procedures are directed by the dealers and pit bosses.

Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide on the amount of your wager and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.

It is the aura that surrounds the game which tends to make it seem off limits to most casino goers. It’s been portrayed through stories of high rollers and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the hero playing against the evil villain. Keep in mind, all the players are betting against the casino, not against each other. Although the roped off table areas and high stakes table limits can be somewhat intimidating.

Enter Mini-Baccarat. The casinos, always on the look out to make a buck, devised the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino patron. It seemed to work although it still hasn’t garnered the wide spread acceptance of the more well known table games.

Betting Systems

In reality, mini-baccarat is ideally suited for most playing and betting systems that do well in an even-money, win/lose environment. Because there can be only one of two outcomes, betting systems that depend on a parlay (doubling up) of wagers tend to do well.

It is common to see runs of 2, 3, 4 & 5 on either bank or player hands. I was playing the Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 22 consecutive “bank” hands. Luckily, having the sense and instinct to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I was able to capture 18 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary run but the game does lend itself well to streaks on both sides.

If you toss a coin you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling the outcome. If a player were to parlay their first win (playing for 2 consecutive wins), they have a 1 in 3 chance of winning that wager. If successful, the player would receive a 3 to 1 payoff. $10 parlayed on two wins would become $40. The odds on calling two consecutive outcomes correctly is 3 to 1.

Playing for three consecutive wins would reduce the player’s winning wagers but the payoff would jump to 7 to 1. A $10 wager would return $80.

Another sound betting system calls for a gradual increase of winning bets. This effectively takes advantage of any extended run of wins that will undoubtedly occur and protect the player’s capital if the outcome is “choppy.”

This type of betting sequence would look like this:

10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50

No wager after the second one in the series would produce a loss for the player.

Following the 1st bet the player is risking $5 and betting $15;

After winning the third bet the player is up $20 betting 25;

On the fourth, the player is up $40 wagering $30;

On the fifth, the player is ahead $65 betting $40;

A series of 7 wins would return $150 and still have a $50 wager as the next bet. All with a starting wager of $10. Following any loss the player reverts back to the starting $10 bet.

With this method the player is increasing their bets with winnings while maintaining a low minimum bet during losing hands. This is the type of smart money management used by professional gamblers that takes full advantage of winning cycles while protecting their bankroll when losing. It insures that their winning bets will be substantially greater than their losing ones.

Although the hands are dealt at a rapid pace, I consider mini-baccarat to be an excellent game, especially for the beginner. It allows them to acclimate to the game and concentrate on their playing strategy and wagers without feeling intimidated by the big money action in the regular Baccarat pit.

If you’ve read any of the stuff I’ve written you know I’m a big fan of Baccarat. As for mini-baccarat, it’s the same game, same low house percentage, low minimums and gives the player a very good chance at some big wins. It might even pay for your next trip the casino.

Best of luck,

Ray W.

Gods of Gambling

People like to gamble, they place bets to have fun or to earn extra cash. When they feel lucky or when someone is watching over them, they simply want to take a chance, to prove that fortune smiles on them, and betting / gambling is no exception.

Praying to God for a team to win a specific game in order for you to win a bet is more or less selfish when there are still so many bad things in the world. But what about those ancient gods of the past, people believed in them and prayed to them for fortune. The different mythologies of the world reveal powerful deities that rule over the world of gambling. Here are some of the gods that can influence the outcome of a football match in our favor:

Hermes is the Greek god of gambling, profit, hazard, and gaming. Hermes was the winged messenger of the gods. He was the god of flocks, road, trading, commerce, thieves. He is also known as Mercury in Roman Mythology. His father is Zeus, the ruler of the Greek gods.

Thoth is the Egyptian god of gambling. He had the same attributes like the Greek god, Hermes. He is the creator of magic, the inventor of writing, the messenger of the gods and the divine record-keeper and mediator. According to myth, he earned 5 extra days by gambling with the moon (then known as Iabet) in a game of dice to help the sky goddess Nut to have her children.

Macuilxochitl, (five flowers, also called Xochipilli) is the Aztec god of gambling, music, dancing. He was the god of games, from board games (Patolli) to the Aztec version of football (Ullamaliztli). Generally represented as a god of fun and dancing, Xochipilli could also send venereal disease to anyone who violates abstentions by engaging in sexual intercourse.

Li-Nezha is the Chinese god of gambling. He is probably the only one of the Chinese Gods that can reveal the winning numbers in lottery. Li-Nezha is perhaps more well-known as Nataku or Nata from Japanese anime a half-mortal war god. In ancient times mortals worship him as a God of Lotteries and Gambling.

Lakshmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity and fortune. Lakshmi is the consort of the god Vishnu. Hindus believe that anybody who worships Lakshmi sincerely, and not in greed, will be blessed with fortune and success. After worshipping Lakshmi on Diwali, many Hindus gamble and spend profusely, believing that Lakshmi has bestowed good fortune upon them.

Nohoilpi – The gambling god of the Navajo. Also called “He Who Wins Men”. He is a renegade son of the sun god Tsohanoai. He came down to Earth and taught his gambling games to the various tribes but soon abused his power by overcoming them at all his games of chance and collecting his winnings by enslaving people to build a city to mark his glory. He was defeated at gambling by a Navajo man send by the other gods and was thrown into the sky.