NFL season starts as more states offer legal sports betting. Here’s how winnings are taxed

  • About 7 million consumers say they’ll bet legally on NFL games this season at a casino sportsbook.
  • Depending on how much you win, you could face a 24% tax withholding.

If you’re among the estimated 38 million adults expected to bet on NFL games this season, remember that good ol’ Uncle Sam expects a piece of your winnings — and, in some cases, will grab a slice without asking first.

The NFL’s 100th season, which kicks off Thursday night on NBC in a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, comes as a growing number of states are legalizing sports betting. That means your win could be subject to taxation even before it reaches you, depending on how big it is. If you win money through unregulated channels, you’re expected to fess up to the IRS at tax time.

“The way it works is that any income from gambling is taxable income,” said Cari Weston, a CPA and director of tax practice and ethics for the American Institute of CPAs. “It’s taxable regardless of how much you won or where you won it.”

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