Several US poker players are unaware that they have to pay taxes on their poker winnings. According to US tax laws, poker players have to pay taxes on money won playing poker tournaments and cash games, irrespective of whether these games were played online or offline. Even players residing in states that definitely prohibit poker gaming are required to pay taxes on their winnings.
Many US poker players are under the misconception that they can escape having to pay taxes on their poker winnings just because they were playing online. Online poker players cannot escape the watchful and alert eye of Uncle Sam because the US government uses the latest technology to track players’ banking transactions. In fact, the US online poker community realized that the government has devised methods of tracking their banking transaction after the crackdown on Neteller in 2007. Players who had so far believed that the IRS had no clue of knowing how much money they had won playing online poker realized that they had been sadly mistaken.
After cracking down on Neteller, the US government cracked down on popular eWallets such as QuickTender, UseMyWallet, eCheckUS, eWalletXpress, and PrePaidATM. The government also created a fake online payment processor to track poker players’ monetary transactions. When the feds cracked down on major online poker operators Absolute Poker, PokerStars, Ultimate Bet, and Full Tilt Poker, these poker rooms were forced to divulge their players’ financial information. Hiding one’s online poker winnings from the US government is, therefore, not as easy as online poker players once believed it was.
Although it is easier to hide land poker winnings, players are required by law to report their winnings. Although the IRS has no definition for the term “session,” the law requires casinos to log each ring game session. Poker rooms in land casinos are willing to provide a receipt for tournaments and cash games.
Land casinos also generate W2Gs whenever players win $5k or more in their poker room tournaments. These W2Gs are then handed over to the IRS, along with players’ personal information and social security numbers. If players refuse to provide this information, the casinos are required by law to withhold taxes on the winnings.
Poker rooms in land casinos are also required by law to generate currency transaction reports whenever players spend over $10k during a period of 24 hours. Besides, they are required to report any transaction that they consider to be suspicious.