Michael Tradford
Last Update:
September 15, 2021
This author was thoroughly tested and approved by the experts at before joining the editorial board to ensure a high content quality.
Author Bio:
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.

Tax & Sports Betting: Do I have to pay tax?

At a point in time, sports bettors begin to wonder whether taxes have to be paid on their proceeds from online sports betting. The response to this frequently asked question is common yes, though it comes with some exceptions. As a sports bettor, it is expected of you to pay taxes on your gambling proceeds (profits) of the year, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that taxes are automatically demanded from your wins. As a gambler, you’ll have to reflect on the gravity of your losses through the year also. If you made profits, then the profits get taxed, if you were just able to break even or you recorded losses,  you won’t need to pay taxes on such, however, to comply with the IRS, it’s expected of you to pay taxes on your gambling proceeds and winnings. As a gambler, you should be conversant with sports betting taxes to avoid being at odds with the law and to meet up with the requirements laid down by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Everything you need to know about Tax and Sports Betting
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  • Sport betting taxes apply to proceeds you get from Gambling

  • Your losses and break evens can be exempted from your winnings and are not taxed

  • The tax rate of your sport bets proceeds are calculated at about 24%

  • For huge wins of over $5000, they are automatically taxed

Do Taxes apply to Sports Betting?

If you are new to sports betting, you may be surprised to learn that taxes do apply to winnings you make from your sports betting activities. Just like how your income gets taxed by, proceeds made from forms of sports betting are taxed; however, the taxing percentage of your sports betting profits might differ from the percentage at which your standard income gets taxed. When you frequently or even casually place sports bets, you are expected to pay taxes on the winnings from your sports betting wagers. The sportsbook platforms also take note of winnings of their players and are required to notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of these various winnings; therefore, it’s advisable for you to note down your own sports betting profits and losses so you’re fully aware of how much you need to pay in taxes. You can easily note down this information with basic software for accounting, or your sportsbooks may even assist you to ensure accurate tracking.

Tax Percentage Withheld

As at 2021, the usual amount which sportsbook withholds to cover taxes on your sports betting wins is 24%. It’s the expected estimated amount which is owed when tax time comes at the end of each year, but this doesn’t mean this amount is really owed. The actual tax amount you owe on gambling proceeds is dependent on the entire amount you’ve made overall. It is expected of Bettors in the higher tax range to pay more, whereas it’s expected of those grouped in the lower tax range to pay less. Sports betting winners should be prepared to pay out approximately in form of taxes but shouldn’t be amazed in a situation where they still end up paying out more. Therefore, it’s advisable to reserve more of your winnings in the form of investments or savings peradventure the tax requirements are even more than you’d thought.

Keep Automatic Withholdings in Mind

A number of sports bettors get shocked when their earnings get held back for a period longer than usual after you win a huge bet. The reason for this is, as based on the requirements by the Internal Revenue Service before your winnings are paid to you, the sportsbook is automatically deducting the tax amount to be paid. As a sports bettor, you should keep in mind about your betting taxes, that when your winnings are huge and amount to about $5,000 or more, the amount to be paid as tax is usually automatically deducted. This serves as a faster way of covering the taxes on your winnings, though it seems to alter the delight of winning. Among the American online sportsbooks, most of them make use of this procedure, so you should always be prepared for automatic deductions by your sportsbook when you make huge earnings.

Accuracy of Withholdings

You should note that the deductions which the sportsbooks will make won’t be completely accurate each time. Your sportsbooks simply estimate the amount you’ll have to pay up as taxes on earnings you’ve made. These withholdings could be more or less than your actual tax obligations, and this is why you need to plan ahead to part with more than is deducted. Taxes on sports betting profits vary based on your overall income and could be higher than 24% or less than 24%, depending on your overall winnings. Therefore, being aware that the withholdings could be more will aid in keeping you in the know when your winnings are not immediately or fully paid.

Losses in relation to Sports Betting Taxes

In the calculation of sports betting taxes, winnings are used to determine the amount to be deducted as taxes, whereas losses are not taxable and can serve as deductions which aid you to avoid paying taxes on all your sports betting activities. This works in States like New Jersey and many other states, sports betting taxes in these states are calculated based on the profits you make. If throughout the year, you’d ended up losing your money or you were able to just break even from your sports betting activities, you need not pay up any amount as taxes. You’ll still have to state any winnings on your taxes, and also include the losses as deductions to avoid getting taxed, as you made no profits from your sports betting activities. While calculating the tax to pay on sports betting, you can deduct your losses from taxes till you’re aware of the number of wins you’ve had. This implies that where you had a greater number of losses than winnings, or the number of losses you had is the same as your winnings, your winnings can be totally canceled out. However, it’s impossible for excessive losses to be deducted from taxes past the point of your total winning amount.

The Need to Keep up-to-date records of your Profits and Losses Records

To be sure of the amount owed in taxes from sports betting through the year, it is important for you to keep up-to-date profit and loss records of all your sport betting activities. In case you’re among persons who believe sports betting is tax-free, it could be tax-free for you but that’s when you make no profits from it. As long as you earn from sports betting, you’re required to pay taxes on profits you make. Keeping your gambling records will help you easily determine any amounts being owed as tax. If you do not keep yours, you may have to count on the records provided by your sportsbook or use previous account statements which could be quite tasking.

You should also Invest your Winnings

One of the ways through which you can easily plan ahead in order to fulfill your tax obligations on the earnings you’ve got from sports betting is by saving or investing earnings you make. Putting it into a savings account or purchasing deposit certificates on a short term or taking advantage of safe options of investment which will ensure you have the money when it’s time for you to pay taxes by the close of the year. In fact, through investing your earnings, you can even get some extra profit on winnings made, and after paying taxes, you’ll still have more money. There are numerous investment options you can place your winnings in and gain so much profit over time. Practicing this will not only ensure you have enough when it is time to pay taxes, it will also help you gain extra bucks. Even with the tax obligations which have to be fulfilled after making winnings in sports betting, you can still make very good profits from it.

Where to find profitable sportsbooks?

Before thinking of paying taxes, you should be thinking of making profits from your online sport betting activities. With the appropriate sportsbook, you could also acquire extra bonuses and benefits. Therefore, we have made available to you on our sports betting comparison page the best sports betting sites which offer you great benefits to supplement your winnings. Simply check them out, select the sports betting site of your choice. Note that you must be above the minimum betting age for online sports betting.

After selecting your preferred website, in accordance with its Privacy Policy, the website may request you to allow the use of cookies, accept this to progress. When you register on the website, put in a valid email address, your password and fill in other requested information. It is advisable to also read the terms and conditions of the websites so as to understand its content. Most of them offer live chats in English or give you the possibility to contact them through their emails or social media handles such as Facebook or Twitter so whenever you need help or support, you can always communicate with the customer service agents through these various platforms.

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Know When to Pay
As a sports bettor, it’s important for you to understand that taxes should be paid on profits you achieve from sports betting. However, note that wins won’t get taxed at the end of your yearly report on your gambling return, you had a net loss in your sport betting activities, or you were only able to break even. However, ensure to keep an up-to-date record of all your sports betting activities, whether wins or losses in order to know if you have to pay taxes on your sports betting activities. Payment of tax means you’re profiting and that’s great. Also, it is important to comply with the requirements laid down by the Internal Revenue Service as you don’t want to run foul of the law.
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