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Taxes on gambling winnings in sports

Taxes » Income Taxes » Taxes On Gambling Winnings In Sports

Super Bowl-sized betting
Super Bowl-sized betting © Mat Hayward/Shutterstock.com

For fans of the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XLVIII was the culmination of their die-hard support. For the rest of the world, it was a chance to cash in on myriad wagers.

Each year when the top two NFL teams meet for the season's final contest, around $10 billion is bet worldwide.

In the United States, legal sports books in Nevada account for part of that money. For the 2014 professional football championship game, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that a record $119.4 million was bet on the Super Bowl at Nevada casinos.

Legal sports betting in Nevada, however, is just a fraction of the domestic wagering picture. The Silver State's legal sports wagering represents less than 1 percent of all sports betting nationwide, according to the American Gaming Association.

Meanwhile, millions in illegal bets are placed with bookies or made online. In 1999, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimated all illegal sports wagers amounted to as much as $380 billion a year.

But all bets -- legal, illegal or even among co-workers dropping a few bucks in the office pool -- share one thing: Winning bets are taxable income.

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