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John Robison

John  Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming's leading publications. Hear John on "The Good Times Radio Gaming Show," broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoons. You can listen to archives of the show online anytime.

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Ask the Slot Expert: A tax preparer comments on taxes on gambling winnings

22 Jan 2012

By John Robison

My feelings on gambling winnings and losses is the winnings are a capital gain and should be taxed. I don't feel it's our government's fault that you lost money gambling. They should not allow us to deduct gambling losses. We are taking a chance when we gamble. I don't feel it's the government or the taxpayer's place to cover our gambling losses. Why do we always feel if we lose something it's allowed to be claimed on taxes and our government should pay us back. I don't want to pay someone else's losses with my tax money. It should be used more wisely. I play the slots and if I win I pay my taxes on my winnings. I also claim my losses up to my winnings because I am allowed to do so. I do taxes during tax season and have been for 8 years now and see this a lot. Gambling losses fall under misc deductions and must meet the 2 percent rule of your AGI. A lot of older people can't itemize deductions (and younger people) because they do not have enough deductions to itemize. I feel, if you win, pay your taxes on your winnings. If you lose, better luck next time. Gambling is not a profession or a job even though there are professional gamblers, and we as taxpayers pay for their losses up to their winnings. To me gambling is a hobby not a profession.


Dear Mike,

I really don't think any of my correspondents want to be able to deduct gambling losses the same way they could deduct losses on a business venture or a stock or bond.

We're arguing that the amount that has to be claimed as winnings should really be true winnings and not just the sum of the W-2Gs we've been given. Let's say I lose $5,000 playing slots, but get 2 W-2Gs for $1,200 each. I have to claim $2,400 in winnings, but I really lost $5,000. As you point out, I may or may not be able to deduct $7,400 in losses.

As you said, "If you win, pay taxes on your winnings." But the way the system works today, many people pay taxes on "winnings" that are inflated or not even real.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,

Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

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