Fantasy Football and Sports Betting Kickoff Facing New Tax Laws

The NFL’s 100th season began last week, and with it, over 38 million hopefuls kicked off their fantasy leagues and betting predictions. With several states legalizing sports betting this year, these player’s potential winnings may be taxed differently come championship time. Whether you’re playing in an official NFL channel or an unregulated one, the IRS expects to be informed of any related earnings since the money is technically classified as taxable income.

Since the Supreme Court overturned existing laws in Spring 2018, thirteen states have legalized the activity, and more are expected to create betting markets in the next few months. Over 7 million individuals are expected to bet in casino sportsbooks this year, while another 31 million people will play in less official forms.

For amateur regulated channels, the IRS places the responsibility of reporting winning on both casinos and players. Successful bets 300x the wager resulting in a win of over $5,000 would face about 24% withheld for taxes. Some betting situations under this amount may also face withholdings depending on the circumstance. After a withholding, the casino may also give you a Form W-2G, particularly with wins over $600 that are 300x your bet. For fantasy sports players the form would be the 1099-MISC which will also eventually be turned into the IRS. To help mitigate some of your gambling related tax bills, players can deduct losses up to the amount of their winnings.

For professional gamblers deductions are different due to their activity being work related. Pro players’ travel expenses can be added to their gambling loss deductions rather than being stated as a separate expense. In most cases, the final tax bill on sports betting can be higher or lower, so it is wise not to spend your winnings right away. The best option overall is to consult a tax expert to make sure you are accounting for taxes on any win big or small.

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