Are Gambling Winnings Taxable?

Gambling can be a fun way to pass the time, but do you know if your winnings are taxable? 

If you’ve ever won money from gambling, you may be wondering if those winnings are taxable. Unfortunately, the answer is yes – gambling winnings are considered taxable income.

Are Gambling Winnings Taxable? Gambling winnings are 100% taxable, and you must report the money on your tax return. Winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, and casinos are all examples of gambling income. It also includes prize money and the fair market value of items, such as automobiles and vacations.

Luckily, there are a few ways to reduce your tax liability on gambling winnings. We have discussed them in this blog post. Read on

Are Gambling Winnings Taxable?

Gambling winnings are taxable whether you cash out immediately or the gambling establishment holds your earnings until you claim them. When your winnings are held by the casino, they may be held in an account called a “frozen bank” until you pick them up. If this happens, the money may not be added to any other funds you have on the casino’s premises.

When you win a prize of cash or marketable securities, it is taxable income in the year you receive it. If you receive a noncash prize as an award for being a loyal customer, it generally is not taxable. However, if its value exceeds $600 during the tax year, you must report it .

  • Generally, you must report the number of your gambling winnings as income on Form 1040, U.S.
  • Individual Income Tax Return, line 21 and attach your W-2G form(s) to that return.
  • You also have to report any related expenses you had against your winnings.
  • If you win a non-cash prize, the fair market value must be reported as income.

Winnings subject to withholding include cash or any other prize that is not a noncash prize, such as cars and trips. Prizes are also considered to be income when they are redeemable for money. For example, if you win a contest in which the prize is a promise to pay you on-demand or within one year from the date of receiving it, the amount of the prize is considered to be received by you as soon as you get possession of it.

Calculating Taxes Gambling Prizes

If you receive certain gambling winnings, the payer is required to issue you a Form W-2G.

This form will let you know how much tax was withheld from your winnings. You need to report your gambling winnings as “Other Income” on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR (use Schedule 1 (Form 1040) PDF). Make sure you do this for all your winnings, even those that aren’t reported on a Form W-2G.

When your gambling winnings are large, you may be required to pay an estimated tax on that additional income. For more information about how much you should withhold when you earn gambling profits, see Publication 505, Tax Withholding, and Estimated Tax.

  • If you win more than a certain amount, the payer will immediately deduct 24% from your prize.
  • When you submit your annual tax return, you’ll record your winnings and tax payments. Depending on your tax rate, you may have to pay more or receive a refund.
  • Gambling losses are deductible, but only up to the amount of winnings that you report. Keep good records!

Exceptional Situations

Casinos are not required to withhold taxes from players who win large amounts at table games such as blackjack, craps, and roulette, all of which are classified as games of skill rather than chance.

  • A distinction is made between table games and slot machines.
  • Table games are considered to need a certain amount of skill, whereas slot machines are regarded as games of chance
  • In any event, the casino cannot truly know how much money you started with when you cash in your chips from a table game.

It does not cancel out the duty to report your winnings to the IRS. You can file your taxes yourself rather than at the casino when you declare your winnings.

How to File Gambling Winnings On Your Federal Taxes?

In order to report your winnings, you must fill out Form 1040 or Form 1040-A. Fill out Schedule 1 (Form 1040) or Schedule.

Other income refers to cash and the value of prizes, which are included on Form 1040 under “other income.” If you win a significant amount of money, you’ll likely get a Form W-2G, which is used to report your earnings.

If you win:

  • A horse race at $600
  • $1,200 or more by using a bingo or any form of slot machine;
  • $1,500 or more at the keno;
  • $5,000 or more in any type of poker tournament.

The W-2G provision does not apply to table games in a casino, such as a blackjack, roulette, baccarat.

This does not imply that you should ignore the income and pay taxes on it if your winnings are insufficient to justify the tax form.

You can do this yourself by filing a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business. On that form, you will have to enter your winnings as income and then record your expenses.

In any event, if you think you might be subject to large tax liability on a significant amount of gambling winnings, it is prudent for you to seek professional help from a tax accountant.


If you’re not sure if your gambling income is taxable, the IRS has a specific question on their website. If you receive an overpayment of your gambling winnings, such as a check for more than your accumulated winnings, it is taxable as ordinary income in the year received.

However, if prizes such as cars and electronics are given to you as a result of winning a gambling game, then the fair market value is taxable as ordinary income. It’s important to report all of this information on your tax return so that you can pay any taxes due and avoid penalties for failing to do so. You also may be able to deduct expenses related to gambling (e.g., travel costs).