New tax angles for gamblers | Reuters

Linda Stern can be reached at linda.stern@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by Gunna Dickson.; Linda Stern tweets at www.twitter.com/lindastern.; Read more of her work at blogs.reuters.com/linda-stern)

. “Maybe five years from now, you’re going to see a number of new games online; many of them have yet to be invented,” said Michael Pollock, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, a research and consulting firm.

— Some states are better than others. If you are deemed a professional gambler, you can deduct more than you make, producing losses that can reduce your tax bill significantly. unfair toward gambling,” says Russell Fox, a Las Vegas tax expert who prepares the returns of poker aficionados, horse bettors, slots players and more. At least you’ll cut down on travel expenses.

The main limitation, from Fox’s point of view, is that the IRS distinguishes between recreational and professional gamblers — and only pros can take lucrative tax losses for their expenses. tax court disallowed the claim of a taxpayer who spent much of his spare time playing the slots, winning $25,534 in the process. You still have to take the income as taxable, but you’ll lose the deductions.

(The Personal Finance column appears weekly, and at additional times as warranted. Of course Nevada’s kind to those who play (or work) at gambling, so living in Las Vegas instead of traveling there may always be an option. And only the pros can take tax losses for their expenses.

Does that mean you can now write off all those Knicks games and bar nights you and your fantasy league buddies attend? What about the Vegas sprees that support your habit? Sorry, not so much.

Here’s what you need to know if you enjoy the games of chance and want to save money on your taxes.

— You can win, but you can’t hide. According to Fox, if you’ve got gambling income and losses, you probably don’t want to be from Hawaii, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, or a handful of other states, because they have various rules which either disallow gambling deductions or subject them to alternative minimum taxes, or add extra taxes onto gambling businesses. Some states disallow gambling losses, or subject them to their state’s alternative minimum tax rules. Here’s how: You’re allowed to take as much in gambling losses (the actual amount you bet and lose) as you won. If you win a bunch of money, but aren’t a pro, you can only deduct your losses up to the amount that they zero out your winnings. But Florida has outlawed fantasy leagues. And whether they are businesses is a whole other question that doesn’t seem to have been tested. “Gambling winnings are always taxable income,” the IRS notes. It’s very hard to prove that your gambling activity is a business. He claimed betting losses of that amount plus expenses of $15,455. And they appear in different places on your tax return, so anyone who doesn’t itemize their deductions will lose out. The IRS has a checklist of behaviors that it looks at to decide if something’s a business, and having fun is on it. If you really enjoy gambling and have other income coming in, and don’t keep good records, you’re probably just going to be considered a recreational gambler, even if you recreate a lot, says Fox.

— Hobbyist gamblers don’t get the same breaks. The good news for people who field their own fantasy football, basketball or baseball teams is this: It’s usually legal to do so. If that results in a gambling business income that is a negative number, you can use that negative number to reduce any other taxable income you may have.

— Of course, there’s a catch. and I could add many more ‘verys’… The law, which regulates online gambling — the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 — specifically carves out fantasy leagues as a protected activity. That enables them to reduce that taxable income by the amount they bet or spent on participating (as long as they don’t create a loss.) But proving you are a professional fantasy sports player? “I seriously doubt it,” says Fox. The Justice Department cleared the way for states to start legalizing online poker and other online betting games. The bar is higher for a professional gambler than it is for a professional painter, babysitter, dogwalker or eBay merchant, Fox suggests. “You have to prove it’s your livelihood, and that’s hard to see.”

Fox and other analysts do believe that the administration’s new position will eventually lead to many more legal games and gambling opportunities. Fox is an enrolled agent — a special class of tax preparer that qualifies him to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service.

But whether the people who spend money on those ‘opportunities’ can actually cash in on the tax breaks that might be associated with them is another question.

— The fantasy leagues are still operating in the grey. But the tax court agreed with the IRS’s claim that he wasn’t really running a gambling business, largely because he had a day job as an X-ray technician that supported him, and because he wasn’t running his gambling business in a businesslike manner. Then you can also deduct your expenses, such as travel costs, tournament fees and the like. That includes the $250 you get if you call the final four right in your office NCAA pool, and the amount you win when the players in your fantasy football team have a good week.

By Linda Stern

| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON In the waning days of 2011, the federal government has handed gamblers two gifts. As recently as July of this year, the U.S. “The tax code is very very very… Some fantasy players are getting 1099 forms listing their winnings. And the Internal Revenue Service agreed to a tax court decision that will allow professional gamblers to take big tax losses.

— Pros get big write-offs

10 Tips for Betting on Football

If North Texas is his best bet on a Saturday then that is his bet. “Over the course of several seasons, the percentage of bettors who turn a profit is minuscule.”

7. “He is not jaded by teams and does not bet with his heart. Research Football Services – “Most sports services realize that most people who sign up with them are insecure,” Gordon warns. Big underdogs often find ways to cover the spread and they rarely give up toward the end of a game in front of the home crowd.”

Newspapers and popular sports sites routinely publish the lines or point spreads for games, and football insiders offer their picks to viewers each week on ESPN and other cable networks.

4. Locks Don’t Exist – “Anyone who has watched sports for about a month realizes that the difference between winning and losing, especially against the spread, can be infinitesimally small,” Gordon says. So underdogs tend to be slightly undervalued – except by the sharps.”

Michael Konik, a sports writer and best-selling author of The Smart Money (Simon & Schuster 2006), explains why it is so hard for the recreational gambler to win at betting on football. The only touts bettors should consider are the ones who talk about the long haul and realistic winning percentages, which are in the upper 50 percent to lower 60 percent range.”

2. Giving 11 to 10 odds is almost always the cheapest price you can give.”

Also, it’s probably a good idea to disregard advice from the myriad of ex-players and football experts you see on television each week. Focus on Conferences – “The best way to win money betting football is to develop a niche and follow it closely,” Moseman advises.

“The bookies fear and despise a tiny coterie of professional bettors known as ‘the sharps,'” Konik says. If you like an underdog, it is best to get your bet in as late as possible, where there is heavy action from squares on favorites.

“A square is the average, unsophisticated gambler whose decision making is based on hunches, media manipulation, or spurious systems that cannot overcome the bookmaker’s inherent mathematical advantage,” Konik explains. Otherwise, you’re better off doing your own research.”

“There is probably no better bet in sports than playing an underdog at home,” Moseman says. “There will be more discrepancy in the numbers at different sports books. Oakland comes to mind) seem like the Super Bowl. If you want advice about sports betting, find someone who has a successful track record. “In the NFL, a game will often be totally turned around by one or two plays, or even a single penalty. And why not? We have unconditional love for the sport and betting $50 or $100 on a game adds an extra rush of adrenaline.

So, how much should you bet a game?

Even Hollywood is not immune – think Two for the Money with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey.

Certainly not back into the pockets of the average bettor. Slim underdogs regularly win outright.

Betting on football games; whether it’s through a local bookie, an offshore Internet site or a Nevada casino (still the only legal place in America to make football bets), most of us have done it or know of someone who has.

But that doesn’t mean you have to bet like a “square” and throw away your hard-earned money.

“In an average season, fewer than one bettor in twelve turns a profit,” Gordon says. “Thus, the bookies love and cherish the squares.”

“The talking heads on TV know nothing about sports betting,” says Sevransky. Shop For Numbers – “Another important aspect of betting on football is shopping for the best number,” Moseman explains. Also, being “in action” can make a dull late-afternoon game (Buffalo vs. “Because alcohol clouds your judgment and usually helps you to make rash decisions you usually wouldn’t otherwise make. Chasing losses is the fastest way to the poor house.”

But even though the math says it’s virtually impossible to win on a consistent basis, Americans continue to bet on football. Consider Underdogs – “In the long-run, it’s easier to win betting on the underdog,” Konik says. “Squares usually bet later in the week and they tend to pick the favorites. “Most people prefer to bet on the ‘better’ team, the one that will probably win the game. “In trying to bamboozle potential customers, many services make claims about having scouts all over the country that give them inside information and promise 70 or even 80 percent winners, as if the bookmakers were the biggest suckers in the world.

6. If you are going to go with a favorite, it is best to place your bet early in the week when the sharps are laying heavy money on the points.

1. “Common wisdom says that over the course of a long football season the average man or woman will pick approximately 50 percent winners. These books change their numbers according to the betting patterns of their customers, so it is not entirely uncommon to find two or three point differences in the lines.”

3. Bet at the Right Time – “The sharp bettors tend to bet underdogs, and they tend to bet them early,” Moseman says.

So, is it possible for the average square to become a little sharper in making football bets this season? According to professionals like Vacarro, Konik and Gordon, amateur bettors have the best chance to win if they demonstrate a little patience and follow the 10 basic tips below.

“Most people with an understanding of football gambling bet between 3 percent and 5 percent of their bankroll, increasing when they win and reducing when they lose,” Vaccaro says. But, when you’re struggling, that’s when you want to reduce your bet size until you get out of your slump. The payout is just the same as far as he is concerned. They use powerful computers that can process millions of bits of data and produce a more accurate point-spread line than the bookmakers.”

Ted Sevransky, a well-known Las Vegas gambler and sports consultant with Sportsmemo.com, agrees.

And remember, in the immortal words of “Fast” Eddie Felson, “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

Another difference between squares and sharps is how they approach betting on game day.

5. Avoid Exotic Bets – “For very skilled handicappers, with a proven track record, there can, at least in theory, be value in betting parlays,” says Gordon on the type of bet that combines two or more individual wagers. On college you will be able to find different lines at different sports books. Avoid Chasing Bets – “Don’t do it! There is no worse way to mismanage your bankroll than to chase your bets after a losing day,” cautions Moseman on the dangerous practice of trying to immediately win back your losses. There are almost an infinite number of scenarios that can happen in a single football game. “If you become an expert on a smaller conference like the WAC, you have a good chance to beat the house because sports book operators do not have the time or resources to follow this conference the way you can. “Teams play inspired ball at home. “If you listen to their advice, you are sure to lose.

Moseman agrees and especially likes home underdogs.

So, how much are we gambling each football season?

And where does all that money go?

However, Konik adds that there are some bettors who actually know how to beat the bookies.

“The biggest mistake that amateur bettors make is they increase their bets when they are losing,” Sevransky says. “The key to proper money management is to be sure not to bet more than you can afford to lose.”

“A sharp or smart has a plan of what he wants to do,” says Vaccaro, the director of sports operations and public relations at Lucky’s Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas. There is a wealth of information on the Internet; it is just up to you to find it and research it daily.” .

“A square or recreational player might have a vague plan, but after two Corona’s he will definitely run to the window and make a hasty decision on the USC-Notre Dame game because he wants to be involved in the party atmosphere,” Vaccaro says. In fact, sports bettors must pick 52.4 percent winners just to break even.”

10.

9. Thanks to the juice, the only one who profits in this scenario is the bookmaker. He loses year after year, according to Dan Gordon, a top football handicapper and author of How to Beat the Sports Books (Cardoza Publishing 2005). Drinking and Gambling Don’t Mix – “There is a reason the casinos in Las Vegas supply you with free drinks while you are gambling,” Moseman says. “The sharps are usually members of a betting syndicate privy to the most up-to-date information on injuries, weather, game plans, and, most important, the real power of the teams involved. The only locks that exist are those that need keys to open them.”

Although exact figures are impossible to calculate, according to Jimmy Vaccaro, widely considered to be Las Vegas’ most influential bookmaker, Americans probably wager more than $50 billion a year on NFL and college football combined. To be a successful sports bettor you need to operate with a clear mind.”

8. The NFL, for example, will have very similar numbers at most of the betting shops you visit. He is not taken in by being involved in USC-Notre Dame just because it is the biggest watched game of the day. Not all games work according to this formula, but it is usually a good rule of thumb.”

“The standard bet requires gamblers to lay $11 for every $10 they want to win with the extra $1 or 10 percent known as the juice,” Konik says. Money Management – “This is without a doubt the most important aspect of betting on sports and possibly the most neglected,” says Morey “Doc” Moseman, a professional gambler and sports consultant with DocSports.com for nearly 40 years. “As for me, the best bet in football is betting the point spread or over/under totals on individual games. “For example, if you have a $1,000 bankroll for the season, you should generally bet no more than $50 a game.”

While these tips don’t guarantee you’re going to win, hopefully they can make you a little less square and a little more sharp in your picks this season. “When you’re in a good rhythm and winning, you want to increase your bets

10 Tips for Betting on Football

Locks Don’t Exist – “Anyone who has watched sports for about a month realizes that the difference between winning and losing, especially against the spread, can be infinitesimally small,” Gordon says.

4. Oakland comes to mind) seem like the Super Bowl.

And where does all that money go?

Certainly not back into the pockets of the average bettor. Bet at the Right Time – “The sharp bettors tend to bet underdogs, and they tend to bet them early,” Moseman says. These books change their numbers according to the betting patterns of their customers, so it is not entirely uncommon to find two or three point differences in the lines.”

10.

So, is it possible for the average square to become a little sharper in making football bets this season? According to professionals like Vacarro, Konik and Gordon, amateur bettors have the best chance to win if they demonstrate a little patience and follow the 10 basic tips below. “In trying to bamboozle potential customers, many services make claims about having scouts all over the country that give them inside information and promise 70 or even 80 percent winners, as if the bookmakers were the biggest suckers in the world. “If you listen to their advice, you are sure to lose. “He is not jaded by teams and does not bet with his heart. “Common wisdom says that over the course of a long football season the average man or woman will pick approximately 50 percent winners. Shop For Numbers – “Another important aspect of betting on football is shopping for the best number,” Moseman explains.

Moseman agrees and especially likes home underdogs. “The key to proper money management is to be sure not to bet more than you can afford to lose.”

“A sharp or smart has a plan of what he wants to do,” says Vaccaro, the director of sports operations and public relations at Lucky’s Race and Sports Book in Las Vegas.

Although exact figures are impossible to calculate, according to Jimmy Vaccaro, widely considered to be Las Vegas’ most influential bookmaker, Americans probably wager more than $50 billion a year on NFL and college football combined. Avoid Chasing Bets – “Don’t do it! There is no worse way to mismanage your bankroll than to chase your bets after a losing day,” cautions Moseman on the dangerous practice of trying to immediately win back your losses. They use powerful computers that can process millions of bits of data and produce a more accurate point-spread line than the bookmakers.”

“The biggest mistake that amateur bettors make is they increase their bets when they are losing,” Sevransky says. The only touts bettors should consider are the ones who talk about the long haul and realistic winning percentages, which are in the upper 50 percent to lower 60 percent range.”

And remember, in the immortal words of “Fast” Eddie Felson, “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”

“In an average season, fewer than one bettor in twelve turns a profit,” Gordon says. Slim underdogs regularly win outright. If North Texas is his best bet on a Saturday then that is his bet.

But that doesn’t mean you have to bet like a “square” and throw away your hard-earned money.

“The standard bet requires gamblers to lay $11 for every $10 they want to win with the extra $1 or 10 percent known as the juice,” Konik says.

Betting on football games; whether it’s through a local bookie, an offshore Internet site or a Nevada casino (still the only legal place in America to make football bets), most of us have done it or know of someone who has. Research Football Services – “Most sports services realize that most people who sign up with them are insecure,” Gordon warns.

So, how much should you bet a game?

5. “Most people prefer to bet on the ‘better’ team, the one that will probably win the game. Avoid Exotic Bets – “For very skilled handicappers, with a proven track record, there can, at least in theory, be value in betting parlays,” says Gordon on the type of bet that combines two or more individual wagers. Also, being “in action” can make a dull late-afternoon game (Buffalo vs. Focus on Conferences – “The best way to win money betting football is to develop a niche and follow it closely,” Moseman advises. “As for me, the best bet in football is betting the point spread or over/under totals on individual games. “For example, if you have a $1,000 bankroll for the season, you should generally bet no more than $50 a game.”

However, Konik adds that there are some bettors who actually know how to beat the bookies.

2. In fact, sports bettors must pick 52.4 percent winners just to break even.”

Even Hollywood is not immune – think Two for the Money with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey.

Michael Konik, a sports writer and best-selling author of The Smart Money (Simon & Schuster 2006), explains why it is so hard for the recreational gambler to win at betting on football. “When you’re in a good rhythm and winning, you want to increase your bets.

8. Giving 11 to 10 odds is almost always the cheapest price you can give.”

So, how much are we gambling each football season?

1.

Newspapers and popular sports sites routinely publish the lines or point spreads for games, and football insiders offer their picks to viewers each week on ESPN and other cable networks. “There will be more discrepancy in the numbers at different sports books. To be a successful sports bettor you need to operate with a clear mind.”

“There is probably no better bet in sports than playing an underdog at home,” Moseman says. He is not taken in by being involved in USC-Notre Dame just because it is the biggest watched game of the day. There are almost an infinite number of scenarios that can happen in a single football game. The payout is just the same as far as he is concerned.

“A square is the average, unsophisticated gambler whose decision making is based on hunches, media manipulation, or spurious systems that cannot overcome the bookmaker’s inherent mathematical advantage,” Konik explains. “In the NFL, a game will often be totally turned around by one or two plays, or even a single penalty. Consider Underdogs – “In the long-run, it’s easier to win betting on the underdog,” Konik says. He loses year after year, according to Dan Gordon, a top football handicapper and author of How to Beat the Sports Books (Cardoza Publishing 2005).

Also, it’s probably a good idea to disregard advice from the myriad of ex-players and football experts you see on television each week. On college you will be able to find different lines at different sports books. So underdogs tend to be slightly undervalued – except by the sharps.”

Another difference between squares and sharps is how they approach betting on game day.

Ted Sevransky, a well-known Las Vegas gambler and sports consultant with Sportsmemo.com, agrees.. Money Management – “This is without a doubt the most important aspect of betting on sports and possibly the most neglected,” says Morey “Doc” Moseman, a professional gambler and sports consultant with DocSports.com for nearly 40 years. There is a wealth of information on the Internet; it is just up to you to find it and research it daily.”

3. But, when you’re struggling, that’s when you want to reduce your bet size until you get out of your slump. “If you become an expert on a smaller conference like the WAC, you have a good chance to beat the house because sports book operators do not have the time or resources to follow this conference the way you can. “Because alcohol clouds your judgment and usually helps you to make rash decisions you usually wouldn’t otherwise make. Not all games work according to this formula, but it is usually a good rule of thumb.”

“A square or recreational player might have a vague plan, but after two Corona’s he will definitely run to the window and make a hasty decision on the USC-Notre Dame game because he wants to be involved in the party atmosphere,” Vaccaro says. If you want advice about sports betting, find someone who has a successful track record. And why not? We have unconditional love for the sport and betting $50 or $100 on a game adds an extra rush of adrenaline. “Teams play inspired ball at home. “The sharps are usually members of a betting syndicate privy to the most up-to-date information on injuries, weather, game plans, and, most important, the real power of the teams involved. The NFL, for example, will have very similar numbers at most of the betting shops you visit. Big underdogs often find ways to cover the spread and they rarely give up toward the end of a game in front of the home crowd.”

But even though the math says it’s virtually impossible to win on a consistent basis, Americans continue to bet on football.

“Most people with an understanding of football gambling bet between 3 percent and 5 percent of their bankroll, increasing when they win and reducing when they lose,” Vaccaro says. Drinking and Gambling Don’t Mix – “There is a reason the casinos in Las Vegas supply you with free drinks while you are gambling,” Moseman says. “Thus, the bookies love and cherish the squares.”

7. The only locks that exist are those that need keys to open them.”

“The bookies fear and despise a tiny coterie of professional bettors known as ‘the sharps,'” Konik says. Thanks to the juice, the only one who profits in this scenario is the bookmaker. If you are going to go with a favorite, it is best to place your bet early in the week when the sharps are laying heavy money on the points. Otherwise, you’re better off doing your own research.”

6. “Over the course of several seasons, the percentage of bettors who turn a profit is minuscule.”

While these tips don’t guarantee you’re going to win, hopefully they can make you a little less square and a little more sharp in your picks this season. “Squares usually bet later in the week and they tend to pick the favorites.

“The talking heads on TV know nothing about sports betting,” says Sevransky. If you like an underdog, it is best to get your bet in as late as possible, where there is heavy action from squares on favorites. Chasing losses is the fastest way to the poor house.”

9