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Strategies to Help You Keep

More of What You Win

By Basil Nestor

Basil Nestor is author of "The Smarter Bet Guide to Craps," "The Smarter Bet Guide to Blackjack," and other comprehensive gambling guides. Got a question? Visit and drop him a line.

Congratulations! Sooner or later, youíre going to be a big winner. This isnít just cheerful optimism; itís a practical truth. If you play long enough, even if you lose a lot along the way, at some point you will hit an amazing streak and smack a big win. Itís mathematically inevitable.

This windfall might be a giant profit or a just a tidy sum that erases a fraction of your aggregate losses, but either way, you want to keep the money. You donít want it siphoned off by the taxman.

Taxes? Yes, you must pay taxes on your gambling income. And if you donít plan carefully, you may have to pay taxes even if youíre a net loser! Yikes! So donít ignore the issue. Prepare now.

The Taxman Cometh

Itís simple. You win money; you owe Uncle Sam. You lose money; thatís your problem.

There is no low-threshold limit on taxable winnings. Theoretically, you owe tax on every profitable bet, even if your income is only one lone dollar. Of course, practically speaking, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service wonít come after you for every humble dollar. But if youíre a regular casino player, inevitably, you leave a paper trail that may detail substantial winnings even if you are a net loser. And the IRS will want a share of those paper profits.

So letís begin with the specifics of the paper trail, and then weíll cover tactics to help save you money on your tax bill.

By law, casinos in the United States use IRS form...

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