My gambling losses exceed my winnings, any reporting requirement?
(Revised November 2012)

Gambling winnings have to be reported on your tax return, even if your gambling losses exceed your winnings. In general, the winnings are reported as other income on your tax return, and gambling losses are deducted as an itemized deduction on Schedule A of your return. However, losses are not as easy to prove to the IRS as are winnings (our tax newsletter discusses this point). 

If you are lucky enough to win big during a night of gambling, we suggest that you get a check rather than cash for the following reasons:

  1. Taking a check is safer, especially if you will be walking through a deserted parking lot.
  2. If your luck suddenly changes and you are robbed, the check can be replaced while the cash cannot.
  3. If you take over $10,000 in cash payment, the gambling establishment is required to file a currency report with the IRS. If the IRS questions your gambling winnings and losses, then by taking a check you create documentation that may be helpful to you. 

If you are a frequent visitor to the casinos, racetracks, etc., you need to keep records of your winnings and losses, and you probably need to contact a tax expert. 

This website has a separate page devoted to gambling.

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