Article Date:
January 2024

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Odds Are Tax Law Does Not Consider You a Professional Gambler

Here’s a fact: tax law treats gamblers unfairly.


The law is particularly harsh for recreational gamblers, as you saw in Don’t Let Your Weekend Gambling Create a Tax Nightmare.


Although not a friend of the professional gambler, tax law does treat the professional far better than the recreational gambler.


Tax Treatment for the Recreational Gambler


Whether you’re a recreational or professional gambler, you’re supposed to keep track of your winnings and losses by the gambling session. At the end of the year, you separately calculate the net totals of all your winning sessions and all your losing sessions.


Key point. You don’t look at net income or loss. You don’t subtract one from the other.


If you’re a recreational gambler,1



you enter the sum of your winning sessions as other income on IRS Form 1040, Schedule 1, line 8b; and


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