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IRS gambling challenge
Gambling winnings are taxable income
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"America's prohibition in the provision of gambling services from other countries violates the U.S. commitments to the WTO," says the Caribbean island's representative Mark Mendel. Because the 2006 law allows online wagers on horse and dog racing, Antigua successfully argued that the statute unfairly forbids international companies from competing in the U.S. market.

In a recent interview with the online gambling portal MajorWager.com, Mendel indicated that a compromise which could open some online gambling markets in the U.S., while not granting full access, may be a possible solution.

Will U.S. lawmakers eventually soften their stance on online gambling? Maybe. And it may be the sheer numbers that change minds.

A recent study by accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the United States could raise $52 billion over the next decade if it lifted the country's ban on Internet gambling and taxed the activity instead. The accounting firm says the amount of money to be made now is about 22 percent higher than it was in 2007, indicating that U.S. online gambling has grown despite the ban.

The accounting firm's study was done specifically for UC Group, an online payment service company that would benefit from U.S. action to legalize Internet gambling. However, the amount of potential tax revenue in this economy surely will spark some second looks at the ban.

Meanwhile, online gambling sites and their cyberpatrons are adapting. All online gambling operations now carry a disclaimer alerting visitors that although a wagering site may be operating legally at its location, it may still be illegal for the patron to wager from his or her location.

To get around payment hurdles, some sites have introduced dedicated debit cards and the alternative, although circuitous, e-payment and electronic wallet services. It's a good bet that millions of U.S. customers will be utilizing them as the NCAA Final Four battle this weekend to go to Monday's championship game.

So many events, so many bets
Combine all these gambling options with Americans' love of athletics, and betting on sporting events has arguably become the true national pastime. If you want to keep your sports wagering domestic, legal betting on athletic events is allowed only in Nevada.

States with gaming
Commercial casinos Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota
Racetrack casinos Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia
Electronic gaming devices (e.g., video lotteries, bingo or poker games) at casinos and/or bars, restaurants or other licensed establishments 37 states
Tribal gaming (casinos, bingo, pulltabs, etc.) 28 states
Lotteries 41 states plus the District of Columbia
Parimutuel wagering 43 states
Charitable gaming 47 states plus the District of Columbia
Source: American Gaming Association, National Indian Gaming Association (April 2008)
-- Updated: April 3, 2009
 
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