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Why You Cannot Deduct Gambling Losses

Audio version available here:

Length: approx. 1 min. 30 sec.

Those who consider themselves professional gamblers might believe they can report their gambling losses as business losses. However, the IRS has specific criteria on whether or not this can be the case for individual taxpayers. Rather than simply stating your intent to be a professional gambler, these steps must be taken to determine if your gambling is engaged in for profit:

  1. Sufficient records of your gambling activities (the casino’s records are not enough)

  2. Your gambling expertise

  3. Time and effort spent to engage in gambling

  4. An expectation that resources used for gambling can increase in value

  5. Your success in non-gambling activities

  6. Your history of gains and losses

  7. The amount of gambling profit

  8. Evidence if the gambling is done for personal pleasure

If your gambling activities do not follow these requirements, then they cannot be considered valid business activities, and cannot be reported as business losses on Schedule C of your 1040 personal tax return. Instead, you would be considered a recreational gambler, and the way to properly report those gambling losses would be on Schedule A.

In short, reading up on IRS rules and regulations and engaging in tax planning are smart ways to keep yourself out of audit territory. If you are still confused about reporting gambling losses, or if you have any other questions regarding your 1040 tax return due this upcoming Monday, October 16th, reach out to us at XQ CPA! We dedicate ourselves to ensuring your tax return is accurate, filed on time, and paid on time.

Phone: 832-295-3353

Did you know? XQ CPA and OneSelfClub are giving away $10,000 to a select business through our video contest! Find out how to enter at

hand holding two King cards in foreground, stacks of casino chips in background


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