Archive for the ‘Gambling’ Category

Online Gambling and Cryptocurrency Addresses for 2021

Friday, February 19th, 2021

If you have one or more foreign financial accounts and you have $10,000 aggregate in those account(s) at any time during 2019, you must file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (the “FBAR”). This is Form 114 from FINCEN. (The IRS and FINCEN now allege that foreign online poker accounts are “casino” accounts that must be reported as foreign financial accounts. The rule of thumb, when in doubt report, applies—especially given the extreme penalties.) You also should consider filing an FBAR if you have $10,000 or more in a non-US Cryptocurrency Exchange.

There’s a problem, though. Most of these entities don’t broadcast their addresses. Some individuals sent email inquiries to one of these gambling sites and received politely worded responses (or not so politely worded) that said that it’s none of your business.

Well, not fully completing the Form 114 can subject you to a substantial penalty. I’ve been compiling a list of the addresses of the online gambling sites. It’s presented below.

FINCEN does not want dba’s; however, they’re required for Form 8938. One would think that two different agencies of the Department of the Treasury would speak the same language…but one would be wrong.

You will see the entries do include the dba’s. Let’s say you’re reporting an account on PokerStars. On the FBAR, you would enter the address as follows:

Rational Intellectual Properties Limited
Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Rd
Onchan, IM31DZ Isle of Man

Here’s how you would enter it for Form 8938:

Rational Intellectual Properties Limited dba PokerStars
Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Rd
Onchan, IM3 1DZ Isle of Man

You will also see that on the FBAR spaces in a postal code are removed; they’re entered on Form 8938. You can’t make this stuff up….

Finally, I no longer have an address for Bodog. If anyone has a current mailing address, please leave it in the comments or email me with it.

Foreign cryptocurrency exchanges with just cryptocurrency do not have to be reported on the FBAR. However, if the account holds anything else (such as ‘fiat’ currency like US dollars, Euros, etc.) the account is reportable.

There is no dispute, though, about reporting foreign cryptocurrency exchanges on Form 8938: They must be reported on Form 8938 (if you have a Form 8938 filing requirement).

Note: This list is presented for informational purposes only. It is believed accurate as of February 27, 2021. However, I do not take responsibility for your use of this list or for the accuracy of any of the addresses presented on the list.

The list is in the cut text below.

The list is in alphabetical order by the common name (not the legal name) of the gambling site. An entry is:

Common Name
Legal Name
Address
City, State/Territory, Postal Code, Country

Note that not all entities have states/territories or postal codes.

IMPORTANT: When reporting on Form 114, the dba’s are not included. When reporting on Form 8938, the dba’s are included.

10Bet
Ocean Star Limited dba 10bet.com
Dragonara Business Center, 5th Flr, Dragonara Rd
St. Julians, STJ3141, Malta

12Bet (except U.K.)
Pacific Sea Marketing International Ltd. dba 12bet.com
MillMall, Ste 6, Wickhams Cay 1, PO Box 3085
Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

12Bet (U.K.)
TGP Europe Limited dba 12bet.uk
22A Castle St
Douglas, IM1 2EZ, Isle of Man

188Bet
Cube Limited dba 188bet
Ground Floor, St. George’s Court, Upper Church St
Douglas, IM1 1EE, Isle of Man

5dimes
5Dimes Casino and Sportsbook
Edificio Equus
San Jose, Costa Rica

888poker (except U.K.)
Virtual Digital Services Limited dba 888 Poker
Level G, Quantum House; 75, Abate Rigord St
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1120, Malta

888poker (U.K.)
888 UK Limited dba 888 Poker
Ste 601-701, Europort
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

AA Poker
Memoriki Limited dba AA Poker
18/F, Star Centre, 35 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

America’s Cardroom
BMX Entertainment dba America’s Cardroom
71C Georgio A, Office 3, Germasogeia
Limassol, 4047, Cyprus

Asianconnect88
Asianconnect N.V. dba Asianconnect88
E-Zone Beheer van Engelen N.V., Van Engelenweg 21A
Willemstad, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)

BestPoker
Best Global N.V. dba Best Poker
BS Building, Level 1, Triq Il-Mosta,
Lija, LJA 9012, Malta

Bet365
Bet365
Hillside, Festival Way, Stoke-on-Trent
Staffordshire, ST1 5SH, United Kingdom

Betclic
Managas Gaming Malta Limited dba Betclic
Level 3, Tagliaferro Business Center; High St c/w Gaiety Ln
Sliema, SLM1551, Malta

Betcoin.ag
Global Limiting Holding EOOD dbaBetcoin.ag
Nikola Vaptsarov Blvd
Sofia, Bulgaria

BetCris
TV Global Enterprises Ltd dba BetCris
Villa Seminia, 8 Sir Temi Zammit Ave
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1011 Malta

BETDAQ
LC International Limited dba BETDAQ
Ste 6, Atlantic Suites
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

BETDSI
Diamond Sportsbook International dba BETDSI
Santa Ana
San Jose, Costa Rica

Betfair
PBB Counterparty Services Limited dba Betfair
Triq il-Kappillan Mifsud
St. Venera, SVR1851, Malta

Betfred
Petfre (Gibraltar) Limited
5/2 Waterfront Place
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Betmost Poker
WHG (International) Limited dba Betmost Poker
6/1 Waterfront Place
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Betonline
BLS International dba Betonline.ag
cs@betonline.ag
Panama City, Panama

Betsafe
BML Group Ltd Limited dba Betsafe Poker
Betsson Experience Center, Ta’Xbiex Seafront
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1027, Malta

Bettson
BML Group Ltd dba Bettson
Betsson Experience Center, Ta’Xbiex Seafront
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1027, Malta

BetUS
Firepower Trading Ltd dba BetUS
Anthinodorou, 3 Dasoupoll, Strovolos
Nicosia, 2025, Cyprus

betusa.ag
Online Management Services dba betusa.ag
Jasmine Ct, Ste 17, Friar’s Hill Rd
St. Johns, Antigua

BetVictor
Victor Chandler International Ltd dba BetVictor
Ste 23, Portland House, Glacis Rd
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Binance
Binance Marketing Services Limited
C85602 Melita Ct, Level 3, Triq Giusseppe Cali
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1420, Malta

Bitfinex (non-US users)
BFXNA Inc dba Bitfinex
Ste 13/F, 1308 Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Rd, Central
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Bitfinex (US users)
Finex Inc. dba Bitfinex
Chaucer Group Limited, 10 Lower Thames
London, E3R 6E14, United Kingdom

BitMax.io
BitMax.io
114 Lavender St, #09-88, Ct Hub 2
Singapore, 338729, Singapore

BitMex
100x Grouop dba BitMex
Second Flr, Capital City, Independence Ave, PO Box 1008
Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles

Bitstamp
Bitstamp Ltd.
5 New Street Square
London, EC4A 3TW, United Kingdom

Black Chip Poker
Black Chip Poker
3/4-8 Churchill St
Coolangatta, Queensland 4225, Australia

Blockchain
Blockchain.info
Rue de Merl, 741, Rue Phillipell
Luxembourg, 2340, Luxembourg

Bluetrade.com
Bleu Digital Enterprises Ltd
527, St. Paul’s St
St. Paul’s Bay, Malta

Bodog
Bodog
service@bodog.eu
Manila, Philippines

Bookmaker.eu
Costa Rica International Sports dba Bookmaker.eu
Edificio La Colmena; 75m W Contraloria de la Sabana Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

Bovada
Lynton Limited Ltd dba Bovada
Craig Plaza, 51-55, Fountain St
Belfast, BT1 5EB, United Kingdom

Boylesports
Boylesports Ltd
Finnabair Industrial Estate, Dundalk
County Louth, Ireland

Bwin
ElectraWorks Limited dba BWIN
Ste 6, Atlantic Suites, Europort Ave
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Cafe Casino
Lynton Limited dba Cafe Casino
Craig Plaza, 51-55 Fountain St
Belfast, BT1 5EB United Kingdom

Carbon Poker
PDC Global Collections Ltd dba Carbon Poker
19/21 Circular Rd
Douglas, Isle of Man

CaribSports
Carib International Entertainment Ltd dba CaribSports
35 New Rd
Belize City, Belize

Cashpoint
Cashpoint (Malta) Ltd.
Level 1, Salvu Psaila St
Birkirkara, BKR9077, Malta

Casino77
Mandarin Gaming NV dba Casino 77
Soho Office 3A, Edge Water Complex, Elia Zammit St
St. Julians, Malta

Celeb Poker
Wizplay OS (Cyprus) Limited dba Celeb Poker
Flat 22, 6 Tassou Papadopolou St
Agios Dometios, Nicosia, 2372, Cyprus

CEX
CEX.io Ltd
24th Flr, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf
London, E14 5AB, United Kingdom

Click and Buy
Click and Buy International Ltd
6-9 Cynthia St
London, N1 9JF United Kingdom

Cloudbet
Halcyon Super Holdings BV dba Cloudbet
Pareraweg 45
Willemstad, Curacao

CoinEgg Ltd
CoinEgg Ltd
38 Hunstanton Ave
Birmingham, B17 8TA, United Kingdom

Coinmate
Confirmo Ltd. dba Coinmate
The Shard Floor 24/25, 26 London Bridge St
London, SE1 95G, United Kingdom

ComeOn! Poker
Co-Gaming Limited dba ComeOn! Poker
3rd Flr, Spinola Park, Tirq Mikiel Ang Borg
St. Julians, SPK1000, Malta

Coral Poker
Gala Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd dba Coral Poker
Ste 6, Atlantic Suites
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

CryptoPay
CryptoPay
WeWork Bldg, 12 Hammersmith Grove
London, W6 7AP, United Kingdom

CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair Ltd
Colm House, 91 Pembroke Rd
Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland

Dafabet
Bayvieew Technologies Ltd dba Dafabet
RCBC Plaza, Makati
Cagayan Valley, Philippines

ecoPayz
PSI-Pay Ltd dba ecoPayz
Afon House, Worthing Rd
Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1TL, United Kingdom

Electrum [Bitcoin Wallet]
Electrum
63-65 Blvd Massena
Paris, 75013, France

Entropay
Ixaris Systems (Malta) Ltd. dba Entropay
2 Stephen St
London, W1T 1AN, United Kingdom

Expekt Sportsbook
Mangas Gaming Malta Limited dba Expekt Sportsbook
Level 3, Tagliaferro Business Center, High St c/w Gaiety Ln
Sliema, SLM1551, Malta

Fabulous Poker
Investments Manager, S.A. dba Fabulouspoker.com
Sabana Sur
San Jose, 10000, Costa Rica

Fairlay
Fairlay LLC
200 Meters norte de la Cruz Roja de Santa Ana, 8vo Piso
San Jose, San Rafael, Costa Rica

Foxbit
Foxbit
Av. Eng. Luis Carlos Berrini, 550; Cidade Moncoes
Sao Paulo, Brazil

FTX
FTX Trading Ltd.
Lower Factory Road, PO Box 990
St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda

Gala Poker
LC International Limited dba Gala Poker
Ste 6, Atlantic Suites
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Gate.io
Gate.io
PO Box 31119, Grand Pavilion, Hibiscus Way; 802 W Bay Rd
Grand Cayman KY1-1205, Cayman Islands

Gatehub
GateHub Limited
Level 3, 207 Regent St
London, W1B 3HH, United Kingdom

gbets
Dynamex (Pty) Ltd dba G-bets
PO Box 7383, Westgate
Roodeport, 1734, South Africa

GGPoker
NSUS Limited dba GGPoker
Ste 15, The Cubes Offices, Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford Business Park
Dublin, 18, Ireland

Global Poker
VGW GP Limited dba Global Poker
5-7 Matilda Ct, Giuseppe Cali St
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1423, Malta

Goalwin Poker
Merkur Interactive Italia SpA dba Goalwin Poker
Via dei Lavorsatirn 136/138 20092
Cinisello Balsamo, Italy

GTBets
gtbets.eu dba GTBets
support@gtbets.eu
Willemstad, Curacao

Heritage Sports
Heritage Sports
customerservice@heritagesports.com
San Jose, Costa Rica

HitBTC
Hit Tech Solutions Development Ltd dba HitBTC
Ste 15, Oliaji Trade Centre, Francis Rachel St
Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles

Huobi
Houbi
Block 2, Liangsheng Bldg, Block 29B, 11
Beijing, China

Iconomi
Iconomi Ltd
10 Orange St
London, WC2H 7DQ, United Kingdom

Ignition Casino
Lynton Limited dba Ignition Casino
Craig Plaza, 51-55 Fountain St
Belfast, BT1 5EB, United Kingdom

Intertops
International Gaming & Entertainment Ltd dba Intertops
PO Box W427, Teledome bldg, Old Parham Rd
St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda

Interwetten
Interwetten Gaming Ltd.
2nd Flr, Global Capital Bldg, Testaferrata St
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1403, Malta

iPoker
Playtech (Cyprus) Limited dba iPoker
Ground Flr, St. George’s Ct, Upper Church St
Douglas, IM1 1EE, Isle of Man

Iron Poker
Universe Entertainment Services Malta Limited dba Iron Poker
Level 3, Valletta Buildings, South St
Valletta, VLT1103, Malta

J88 Poker
J88Ent Ltd dba J88 Poker
Unit 1101, 11th Flr, Tower 1, Enterprise Square, No. 9, Sheung Yuet Rd; Kowloon Bay
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Jazz Sports
DPT Sports Group dba jazzsports.ag
DPT Building, Pavas
San Jose, Costa Rica

Juicy Stakes Poker
Thinkquick Ltd dba Juicy Stakes Poker
3997 Armory Bldg
Basseterre, St. Kitts (Saint Kitts and Nevis)

Justbet.co
Investments Manager, S.A. dba Justbet.co
Edificio La Colmena
San Jose, Costa Rica

Just Dice
Just-Dice.com
PO Box 0823-03411
Panama City, Panama

KuCoin
KuCoin Co., Limited
support@kucoin.com
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Ladbrokes
LC International plc
Ste 6, Atlantic Suites
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Libertyslots.lv
Liberty Slots Group dba Libertyslots.lv
support@libertyslots.com
Willemstad, Curacao

Livecoin
Red Velvet Investments Ltd dba Livecoin
help@livecoin.net
Belize City, Belize

LooseLines
DPT Sports Group dba looselines.ag
DPT Building, Pavas
San Jose, Costa Rica

Lowvig
Lowvig.ag
support@lowvig.ag
San Jose, Costa Rica

Luxon Payments
Luxon Payments Ltd
Cobden Chambers, Pelham St
Nottingham, NG1 2ED, United Kingdom

MarathonBet
MarathonBet.com
Abraham de Veerstraat 9
Willemstad, Curacao

Matchbook
Triplebet Limited dba Matchbook
Inchalla, Le Val
Alderney, GY9 3UL, Channel Islands (Guernsey)

Mercatox
104363744 Ltd dba Mercatox
Mailboxes E.T.C., Peel House 30
Altincham, WA14 2PX, United Kingdom

MuchBetter
MIR Limited UK Ltd dba MuchBetter
Finance House, 20/21 Aviation Way
Southend, Essex, SS2 6UN, United Kingdom

MyBookie.ag
Duranbah Limited N.V. dba MyBookie.ag
7 Abraham de Veerstraat
Willemstad, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)

Natural8.com
Run Good N.V. dba Natural8.com
9 Abraham de Veerstrat
Willemstad, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)

NetBet
NetBet Enterprises Ltd dba NetBet
209, Marina Street
Pieta, PTA9041, Malta

Neteller
Paysafe Financial Services Ltd. dba Neteller
Compass House, Vision Park, Chivers Way
Cambridge, CB24 9BZ, United Kingdom

Nitrogen Sports
Nitrogen Sports
support@nitrogensports.eu
San Jose, Costa Rica

Nordic Bet
BML Group Ltd dba NordicBet
Betsson Experience Center, Ta’Xbiex Seafront
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1027, Malta

Noxwin
Galaxy Grouop Ltd dba Noxwin.com
Intershare Chambers
Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Oanda Europe
Oanda Europe Limited
Flr 3, 18 St. Swithin’s Ln
London, EC4N 8AD, United Kingdom

Oddsmaker Casino
OddsMaker.ag
support@oddsmaker.ag
Curacao, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)

OKEx
Aux Cayes FinTech Co. Ltd dba OKEx
Unit 10-02, Level 10, Menara Binjai, No. 2, Jalan Binjai
Kuala Lumpur, 50450, Malaysia

OKPoker
Loto Quebec dba OKPoker
500 Sherbrooke St W
Montreal, QC H3A 3G6 Canada

Pacific Poker
Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited dba Pacific Poker
Suite 601-701, Europort Ave
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

PaddyPoker
PBB Counterparty Services Limited dbaPaddyPoker
Triq il-Kappillan Mifsud
St. Venera, SVR1851, Malta

Party Poker
Electra Works dba Party Poker
Suite 6, Atlantic Suites, Europort Ave
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Pinnacle Sports
Ragnarok Corporation N.V. dba Pinnacle.com
Pletterjweg 43
Willemstad, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)

Planetwin365 Poker
SKS365 Malta, dba Planetwin365 Poker
Corso Vittoria Emanuel 11, 282-284
Rome, 00188, Italy

Players Only
Gaming Ventures Ltd. dba Players Only
60 Nevis St
St. John’s, Antigua (Antigua and Barbuda)

Poker4u
Olincorp Limited dba poker4u
7, Florints St, Greg Tower, 6th Flr
Nicosia, 1065, Cyprus

Poker770
Mandarin Gaming NV dba Poker770
PO Box 4920
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Curacao)

Pokerhost
PH Multitech Curacao N.V. dba Pokerhost
E-Commerce Park, Vredenberg
Willemstad, Curacao, (Netherlands Antilles)

PokerKing
King Enterprises BG Ltd. dba PokerKing
Plaza P.L. Brion Unit 4
Willemstad, Curacao

PokerStars
Rational Intellectual Holdings Limited dba PokerStars
Douglas Bay Complex, King Edward Rd
Onchan, IM3 1DZ Isle of Man

PokerStars.eu
Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd dba PokerStars.eu
Villa Seminia, 8, Sir Temi Zammit Ave
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1011, Malta

PokerStars.fr
REEL Malta Limited dba PokerStars.fr
Villa Seminia, 8, Sir Temi Zammit Ave
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1011, Malta

Poloniex
Polo Digital Assets, Ltd. dba Poloniex
F20, 1st Floor, Eden Plaza
Eden Island, Seychelles

PPPoker
AceKing Tech Limited dba PPPoker
OMC Offices, Babrow Bldg
The Valley, 2640, Anguilla

PredictIt
PredictIt Europe Limited
6 Agar St
London, WC2N 4HN, United Kingdom

Red Kings
SkillOnNet Ltd. dba Red Kings
Office 1/5297 Level G, Quantum House, 75 Abata Rigord St
Ta’Xbiex, XBX1120, Malta

Red Stag Casino
DeckMedia.NV
Heelsumstraat 51, E-Commerce Park
Willemstad, Curacao

RedStar Poker
RSP Entertainment N.V. dba RedStar Poker
12 Georgiou Grive Digeni, Stephanie House, Office 101
Nicosia, 3101, Cyprus

Skrill (formerly Moneybookers)
Skrill Limited
Floor 27, 25 Canada Square
London, E14 5LQ, United Kingdom

Skybook Sportsbook and Casino
Azure Ventures Limited dba Skybook Sportsbook and Casino
G1, Haven Ct, 5 Library Ramp
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

slots.lv
Lynton Limited dba slots.lv
Craig Plaza, 51-55 Fountain St
Belfast, BT1 5EB, United Kingdom

Smarkets
Smarkets (Malta) Limited
The Hedge Business Center, Level 7, Triq Ir-Rampa ta’ San Giljan
St. Julians, STJ1062, Malta

sportbet.com
5Dimes Casino and Sportsbook dba sportbet.com
Edificio Equus
San Jose, Costa Rica

Sports Interaction
Mohawk Online dba Sports Interaction
2006 Old Malone Rd, PO Box 1539
Kahnawake, QC, J0L 1B0, Canada

Sportsbetting.ag
Blue High House S.A. dba Sportsbetting.ag
Area Bancaria, Avenida Balboa
Panama City, Panama

Sportsbook
Paddy Power Betfair dba sportsbook.eu
Belfield Office Park, Beech Hill Rd
Clonskeagh, Dublin, 4, Ireland

swcpoker
OrangeWebsite.com dba swcpoker (aka Seals With Clubs, swcpoker.eu)
Kapparstigur 7
Reykjavik, Iceland

The Greek
WS Processing Ltd. dba The Greek Sportsbook
#1 Mangrove Way, M.B.F.Z.
Freeport, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Tiger Gaming
Troy Logic Limited dba Tiger Gaming
170, Patar House, Level 1 (Ste A203), Psaila St
Birkirkara, BKR9077, Malta

Titan Poker
Universe Entertainment Services Malta Limited dba Titan Poker
Level 3, Valletta Bldgs, South St
Valletta, VLT1103, Malta

TrransferWise
TransferWise
6th Flr, The Tea Bldg, 56 Shoreditch High St
London, E1 6JJ, United Kingdom

True Poker
BMX Entertainment dba True Poker
71C Georgio A, Office 3, Germasogeia
Limassol, 4047, Cyprus

Unibet
Trannel International Ltd. dba Unibet
Level 6, The Centre, Tigne, Point
Sliema, Malta

Vietbet
5Dimes Casino and Sportsbook dba Eurobet
Edificio Equus, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, 7mo Piso
San Jose, Costa Rica

WagerWeb
WagerWeb.ag
support@wagerweb.ag
San Jose, Costa Rica

William Hill
WHG (International) Ltd
6/1 Waterport Place
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Winamax.fr
Winamax
CS 50746, CEDEX 07
Paris, 75345, France

Winner Poker
Universe Entertainment Service Malta dba Winner Poker
Level 3, Valletta Bldgs, South St
Valletta, VLT 1103, Malta

WPTPoker.com
Electraworks Limited (bwin.party digital entertainment plc) dba WPTPoker
Ste 711, Europort
Gibraltar, Gibraltar

Yobit
Yobit.net
support@yobit.net
Moscow, Russia

Youwager.eu
Dowson Universal Technologies Limited dba Youwager.eu
20 Stuart Ct
Consett, County Durham, DH8 5GA, United Kingdom (hide)

If anyone has additions or corrections to the list feel free to email them to me.

Ignoring W-2Gs and $482,000 of Income Led to a Sub-Optimal Result

Monday, December 14th, 2020

Bluffing in poker can work quite well. However, if your opponent will always call, bluffing cannot work. One poker player learned that the IRS always call your bluffs (especially when they have evidence).

Guy Smith owns an interior construction business in Connecticut. He also enjoys playing poker, and had some success. With that success comes W-2Gs: They’re issued if you have a cash of $5,000 or more (net of the buy-in). Mr. Smith has had many, winning a poker tournament in Connecticut and finishing fifth in another in Florida.

Mr. Smith apparently didn’t tell his tax professional about those winnings. The IRS computer would, of course, send notices noting the discrepancies on the returns. Given the tournament winnings were more than $1 million, this is a big issue. Ignoring tax forms that are sent to the IRS has about a 0% chance of long-term success.

But like a bid informercial, that’s not all. Mr. Smith ignored $482,000 of income from his business (and didn’t tell his tax professional about that, either). Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, the IRS discovered this. With nearly $1.5 Million of unreported income and over $800,000 of unpaid federal income taxes, IRS criminal investigation was interested.

Mr. Smith pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion last week; he is scheduled to be sentenced in March and faces up to five years at ClubFed. Given he has agreed to cooperate with the IRS and pay all outstanding taxes (and the penalties and interest), his actual sentence will likely be far less.


In just over two weeks I’ll be announcing this year’s winner of the “Tax Offender of the Year” award. To win this coveted award [1] it takes more than simply evading taxes. It has to be special; it really needs to be a Bozo-like action or actions. If you have any ‘deserving’ nominees, let me know.

[1] I’m not sure anyone really covets receiving this award, but given the actions of some of the previous winners it may be that some were actually trying to win the award.

Do Canadian Professional Poker Players Owe Income Tax?

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

In the United States, the tax law can be boiled down to two sentences: Everything is taxable unless Congress exempts it. Nothing is deductible unless Congress allows it. Gambling winnings are taxed–they are an accession to income. An American professional gambler clearly owes income tax.

However, in many countries like Australia only professional gamblers (those conducting a business) are taxed on their gambling winnings. This came up when Australian Joseph Hachem won the World Series of Poker. He successfully argued that at the time he won he was an amateur gambler and did not have to pay income tax on his winnings.

The law in Canada is not settled in this area. There is a court case from British Columbia that says that professional poker players do not have to pay tax on their winnings. But clarity is likely coming, as the Tax Court of Canada will hear the case of Jonathan Duhamel in March.

Mr. Duhamel won the 2010 World Series of Poker main event earning $8,944,310. Canada’s tax agency, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), argues that Mr. Duhamel was operating a business; thus, he owes income tax on his net income. CRA argues that Mr. Duhamel hasn’t paid $1,219,114 (Canadian Dollars) in tax from 2010-2012. That’s $934,695 (USD), well worth fighting over.

The case will probably come down to whether or not the business aspect of Mr. Duhamel’s career outweighs the luck that caused him to win specific events. Per an article in The Canadian, CRA believes that because he considers himself a professional poker player, he behaves like a “serious businessman” while playing poker, he has no other primary source of income, and he performs his occupation for 40 to 50 hours per week, he is in business and owes income tax. Mr. Duhamel argues it’s just luck that causes him to win.

The good news for Canadian poker players is that clarity on income taxes is coming (probably next summer). The bad news is that to this observer it appears that CRA is starting with pocket Queens versus Mr. Duhamel’s eight-seven suited.

IRS: DFS Is Wagering (Gambling)

Monday, October 19th, 2020

In February 2014, I wrote a post titled, “Taxes and Daily Fantasy Sports: The Duck Test.” I concluded:

So daily fantasy sports have at least some element of luck. Then from a tax standpoint they sure look to be a form of wagering activity. There’s a prize, chance, and consideration. The Duck Test again: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might just be a duck.

On Friday, the IRS released a second Chief Counsel Memorandum dealing with Daily Fantasy Sports. An IRS attorney asked the question, “Does the amount paid by a daily fantasy sports player to participate in a daily fantasy sports contest constitute an amount paid for a wagering transaction under §165(d) of the Internal Revenue Code?” The Chief Counsel’s Office conclusion was:

The amount paid by a daily fantasy sports player to participate in a daily fantasy sports contest constitutes an amount paid for a wagering transaction under §165(d).

The Chief Counsel’s office opinion is basically what I wrote over six years ago:

DFS transactions meet the definition of wager as interpreted by the Tax Court and State courts because there is an uncertain event (such as the live performance of individual players), winnings if the event resolves in participant’s favor, and consideration is lost if the event does not resolve in participant’s favor. Each DFS transaction is a pay to play competition with predetermined winnings for a certain number of participants. The outcome of the competition turns on the overall statistical performance of live professional players assembled into the fantasy team. The winning participant receives a return of his or her initial bet along with wagering gains, while the losing participant walks away empty handed. This is consistent with the courts’ interpretation of the term “wager.”

The IRS Chief Counsel memorandum also correctly notes that the fact that DFS is skillful wagering is a blind alley. “DFS transactions are similar to poker and other wagers in which a player’s skill is a component of the game but it does not dictate the outcome. As such, the argument that DFS transactions are excluded from wagering as a game of skill are unpersuasive.”

There are some obvious conclusions from this. First, DFS sites have been issuing Form 1099-MISC’s, not W-2G’s, to participants. We can expect the IRS to pressure the sites to switch (and expect the sites to fight this). Second, expect the sites to come under pressure to register as gambling sites in “grey market” states or to leave such states.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel, the two leading DFS sites, have expanded into sports betting (which is clearly gambling) and have registered appropriately in states where they act as sports books. In those states, DFS being considered wagering/gambling won’t matter. However, just like Nevada did years ago some other state or states are going to also consider DFS to be gambling.

For DFS players, there is both good and bad in this memorandum. The good is that you can deduct losses (to the extent of winnings). If DFS were a skill contest, you couldn’t; however, if DFS is a wagering activity losses are explicitly allowed up to the amount of winnings. That’s good. The bad is that for professional DFS players, you might not be able to take business expenses in a year that you lose money. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (passed at the end of 2017) specifically disallows a professional gambler from taking business losses.

For the DFS sites, this is a continuation of the bad news coming from the IRS. Like the first Chief Counsel memorandum, I expect the DFS sites to bury their head in the sand and fight this. Unfortunately, while DFS clearly involves substantial skill to be a consistent winner, that is completely irrelevant as far as whether or not it is a wagering (gambling) activity. The only way around this for the DFS companies is for Congress to change the law.

Just File the FBAR

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

One week from today is the tax filing deadline. It’s also the effective deadline for filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, FINCEN Form 114; that’s the form that’s better known as the FBAR. The FBAR is part of the Bank Secrecy Act (it’s not a tax form), but tax professionals like me get the joy of preparing the form. There’s no tax due with filing the FBAR–it’s an information return. Yet I regularly hear excuses on why not to file the form.

You are required to file the FBAR if you have $10,000 aggregate at any time during the previous year in one or more foreign financial accounts. These include the obvious (non-US bank accounts and non-US brokerage accounts) to the not so obvious (most online gambling accounts). Penalties for not filing the FBAR are stiff (to say the least). Non-willful penalties begin at $10,000 while willful penalties start at the greater of $100,000 or half the balance in the account—yes, that penalty is per account.

The FBAR must be electronically filed. Most tax professionals’ software will handle filing the form. You can also do it yourself on the BSA E-Filing System. And if you have an FBAR filing requirement, you may also need to file Form 8938 with your tax return. This is essentially a duplicate of the FBAR but with different filing thresholds and slightly different accounts that must be reported. (The IRS has a good webpage on the differences between the FBAR and Form 8938 filing requirements.)

The rule of thumb with the FBAR is simple: When in doubt, include the account. There are no penalties for overreporting; there are severe penalties for underreporting. Take foreign cryptocurrency exchanges. The IRS has publicly stated that these do not have to be included on the FBAR. However, the instructions to the FBAR don’t say that. Thus, I urge individuals to include them. I maintain a list of foreign online gambling sites and cryptocurrency exchanges.

So don’t forget the FBAR when you’re filing your taxes. And if you have any doubts on whether to include that account, include it.

More on the IRS Daily Fantasy Sports Memo (“DFS Is Gambling”)

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

There has been some speculation in the gambling world on (1) why did the IRS memo on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) suddenly appear, and (2) is the IRS correct about the non-precedential memo?

Chris Krafcik on Twitter asked, ” Has anybody gotten to the why of the IRS DFS memo? Working backwards from the targets (DFS companies [i.e., DK [DraftKings] and FD [Fanduel]]), and having observed what I have of gambling industry lobbying skullduggery, fair to ask, imo, whether IRS was lobbied by a DK-FD competitor.”

The reality is far more mundane. John Brennan, who often writes on gambling, has an article today on the DFS memo. He quotes Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, from his conference call with gaming analysts last week:

We have been involved in [an] audit with the IRS for many years, and this was a memo that has no force of law and is non-binding,” Robins said. “In our view, the analysis is deeply flawed. …” [Emphasis added]

Let’s assume that DraftKings raised the issue in the audit that DFS wagers are not gambling for purposes of federal tax law because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) (which is a near certainty). The UIGEA contains a carve-out for DFS specifically exempting it. The IRS auditor did not know whether the UIGEA carve-out applied to the wagering excise taxes, and his or her manager didn’t know. They did what they were supposed to do: They asked the IRS Chief Counsel Office how this should be treated. This memo is the response to that inquiry. (It’s highly unlikely this memo is the result of a competitor’s actions.)

The next question is whether or not the IRS memo reaches the correct conclusion. As I previously noted, I think it does. As noted in the memo, wagering is not defined in the Tax Code. But Court decisions are unanimous in what to do when a term isn’t defined. From Tschetschot v Commissioner (T.C. Memo 2007-38):

When a term is not defined, we must apply the term’s “plain, obvious, and rational meaning.” Liddle v. Commissioner, 103 T.C. 285, 293 n.4 (1994), affd. 65 F.3d 329 (3d Cir. 1995); see also Boyd v. United States, 762 F.2d 1369, 1373 (9th Cir. 1985). According to the dictionary, a “wager” is defined as “something risked or staked on an uncertain event” or “a bet”. Random House College Dictionary (1968). Similarly, “to wager” is defined as: (1) Something risked or staked on an uncertain event; bet; (2) the act of betting. Random House College Dictionary (1973).

We can also look to the UIGEA for a definition of wagers. Indeed, DraftKings argues that because of the UIGEA, DFS is not wagering (gambling). Let’s look at the definition from 31 U.S.C. § 5362 (1):

(1) Bet or wager.—The term “bet or wager”— (A) means the staking or risking by any person of something of value upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event, or a game subject to chance, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or another person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome; …(E) does not include— … (ix) participation in any fantasy or simulation sports game or educational game or contest in which (if the game or contest involves a team or teams) no fantasy or simulation sports team is based on the current membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur or professional sports organization (as those terms are defined in section 3701 of title 28)….

First, I agree that DFS companies (such as DraftKings) are exempt from the UIGEA. 31 U.S.C. § 5362 (1)(E)(ix) is quite clear about that.

However, this has nothing to do with how wagering is treated under the Tax Code (aka the Internal Revenue Code); that’s a different section of the United States Code (Title 26). But we can look at the overall definition of what wagering is from the UIGEA, even though the UIGEA doesn’t apply to DraftKings, to see how the definition of wagering does apply to them under Title 26 of the U.S.C. As I wrote back in 2014,

…[T]here are plenty of IRS and Tax Court rulings on this, and all say basically the same thing. For something to be gambling, three elements must be present:
1. A prize;
2. Chance; and
3. Consideration.

The IRS memo and common sense tells us that DFS has at least an element of chance. No rain is predicted for a football game, and it rains impacting play. Or a pitcher pulls his hamstring and only pitches two innings. Or, well, you get the idea. The examples are too numerous to mention and all of them back the IRS’s view that there is an element of chance to DFS.

I do agree that DFS is an activity where skill predominates. As I have written many times, poker is also a game where skill predominates over luck. But that’s irrelevant for the Tax Code; legally, poker is a form of skillful gambling. So is DFS. But it’s gambling no matter what the DFS companies may want to say.

The conclusion I reached last week still holds: The DFS companies have little chance of prevailing on this issue. I reached that conclusion in 2015, and nothing has changed. They would be far better off trying to lobby Congress for an exclusion in the Tax Code than fighting the IRS on this.

Burying Your Head in the Sand

Monday, August 17th, 2020

One of my favorite sayings (and I am not the one who came up with it) is “The Tax Code Giveth, The Tax Code Taketh Away.” It’s not fair, but we have to live with it as it is, not how we want it to be. Only Congress can change the Tax Code because it’s law.

Last week, I reported on the IRS releasing a Chief Counsel Memorandum where the IRS concludes that Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) companies are liable for the Excise Taxes on Wagering. (Back in 2015 I came to the same conclusion as the IRS.) Per published reports, Jason Robins, the Chief Executive Officer of DraftKings, disagrees. The Wall Street Journal notes [pay link]:

“This was a memo that has no force of law, is nonbinding and [in] our view is deeply flawed in its analysis,” Mr. Robins told analysts. “Our position continues to be, which we believe has been reaffirmed through state legislatures and courts throughout the country, that [daily fantasy sports] is not wagering.”

First, state law and state courts do not change federal tax law. A state can call an activity a non-gambling contest but it can still be considered wagering (gambling) under federal law. We have a dual system of taxation in the United States, and state tax law and federal tax law differ in numerous respects.

Second, some states have concluded that DFS is gambling. For example, Nevada did so. Of course, a company executive will put the most positive light on something.

So I’m going to assist Mr. Robins with some information about the Federal Tax Code. Back in 2014, I wrote:

[T]here are plenty of IRS and Tax Court rulings on [what wagering/gambling is], and all say basically the same thing. For something to be gambling, three elements must be present:
1. A prize;
2. Chance; and
3. Consideration.

Clearly daily fantasy sports have elements 1 and 3. There’s a prize and there’s a cost to enter each event. Is there chance?

Gambling does not have to be 100% chance to be considered gambling. For example, poker is considered gambling under US tax law yet there’s plenty of skill involved with it. (Indeed, I’d argue that skill predominates over luck; however, there’s absolutely an element of luck in poker.) Let’s look at what’s involved with a daily fantasy sports contest. You generally select a team to play in a day’s events. Let’s say you selected Carlos Boozer and Shane Battier for today’s NBA daily fantasy sports contest. Those players scored 8 and 3 points, respectively. On the other hand, had you selected Taj Gibson and Chris Bosh you would have done far better; they scored 20 and 28 points. Yet before a single game who know what each player will score? If you had selected NBA star Lebron James you would normally do quite well; however, he didn’t play today.

The IRS Chief Counsel memorandum notes that there can be skill and the ‘contest’ can still meet the definition of a wagering activity:

In [Revenue Ruling 57-521], the contest participant’s own skill was the only factor involved in winning the puzzle game and there was no chance element at all. In contrast, DFS participants merely select a lineup for their simulated teams and have no ability to exercise control or influence over the actions of the players participating in the game and who earn the participants their fantasy points. DFS participants may be educated on the sports games, players, expected weather conditions, and other factors. Regardless of how educated a DFS participant is, their chosen player(s) may perform poorly that day, become injured, not play in a given game, or be affected by uncontrollable circumstances such as weather and officiating. The existence of chance indicates that DFS contests are distinguishable from the type of contest described in Rev. Rul. 57-521. We conclude that the “skill” involved in selecting fantasy players is similar to the skill involved in selecting winners of individual professional sports games, horse races, or other traditional sports gambling activities.

In my view, and the current state of the Federal Tax Code, it’s quite clear that a DFS contest is a wagering activity. It meets the specifications of wagering. There is consideration, there is a prize, and there is an element of chance (luck). Bluntly, Mr. Robins can educate the world on the skill needed to be a winner in DFS (and he is absolutely correct on the skill needed); however, under the Tax Code this is clearly gambling (wagering). Basically, Mr. Robins’s argument is irrelevant.

The only way this changes is to change the Federal Tax Code. That would require Congress to add a new section to the Tax Code specifically stating that DFS is not a wagering (gambling) activity.

If I were an auditor of a DFS firm, I would be insisting DFS companies either pay the wagering excise taxes or add a reserve for them. To put it in sports terms, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a better chance of winning the 2020 World Series than the DFS companies do of not having to pay the wagering excise taxes.

IRS: DFS Sites Liable for Excise Tax on Wagering

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Back in 2015, I asked and answered the question on whether the DFS sites were liable for the excise tax on wagering. I came to the conclusion they were. In late July, the IRS came to the same conclusion: DFS sites are liable for this tax.

The IRS legal opinion (which cannot be cited, but does give the IRS’s reasoning) notes that clearly DFS entry fees are wagers, and that DFS events are wagering pools. The opinion cites Tschetschot v. Commissioner and also notes the dictionary definition of a wager.

The IRS opinion notes some obvious realities about skill and chance in DFS:

DFS participants may be educated on the sports games, players, expected weather conditions, and other factors. Regardless of how educated a DFS participant is, their chosen player(s) may perform poorly that day, become injured, not play in a given game, or be affected by uncontrollable circumstances such as weather and officiating. The existence of chance indicates that DFS contests are distinguishable from the type of contest described in Rev. Rul. 57-521. We conclude that the “skill” involved in selecting fantasy players is similar to the skill involved in selecting winners of individual professional sports games, horse races, or other traditional sports gambling activities.

The DFS tax rate is 0.25% on legal (authorized) wagers and 2% on any non-authorized wagers. If a DFS site operates only in states that authorized the wagers, they’ll owe 0.25% of the wagers collected; otherwise, they will owe 2%.

There’s a corollary to this that I’ve mentioned on several occasions. If DFS is a wagering activity for one aspect of tax law, it almost certainly it is for other aspects of tax law. The DFS sites have been issuing Form 1099-MISC’s as “skill contests.” It’s quite likely that DFS games are gambling and that W-2Gs should be issued instead of 1099-MISC’s.

Finally, I should point out that this legal opinion is just the IRS’s opinion. A DFS site, if audited on this issue, could appeal the decision into the courts. It’s possible, of course, a court could rule differently than the IRS legal opinion (though I doubt it).

Professional Gamblers (and Other Gambling Businesses) Now Eligible for PPP Loans

Friday, April 24th, 2020

The Small Business Administration today released new guidance on the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans. Included in the guidance is an FAQ that states:

Are businesses that receive revenue from legal gaming eligible for a PPP Loan?

A business that is otherwise eligible for a PPP Loan is not rendered ineligible due to its receipt of legal gaming revenues, and 13 CFR 120.110(g) is inapplicable to PPP loans. Businesses that received illegal gaming revenue remain categorically ineligible. On further consideration, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary, believes this approach is more consistent with the policy aim of making PPP loans available to a broad segment of U.S. businesses.

This means that as of today professional gamblers are now eligible for PPP loans. If you’re a professional gambler and are out of business, now is the time to apply with your bank. While there was additional funding for PPP loans approved this week, it will likely be used up quickly. Do note that if you partake in any illegal gambling activities you remain ineligible for PPP loans.

Additionally, small pubs with gambling activity (very common here in Las Vegas) are eligible for PPP loans.

Can a Professional Gambler Apply for a PPP or EIDL Loan?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

The CARE Act added Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A question many of our clients have asked is, “I’m a professional gambler. Can I apply for one of these loans?” The answer is no.

It’s not as if a professional gambler can gamble in most locations today (casinos are closed everywhere, though those residing in states with online gambling can partake), so professional gamblers are being impacted. The problem is a regulation adopted in 1996. From 13 CFR § 120.110 (What businesses are inelgible for SBA business loans?). 13 CFR § 120.110(g) states:

Businesses deriving more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities.

(All illegal activities are ineligible per 13 CFR § 120.110(h).)

The American Gaming Association wants this changed; it also prevents small casinos, such as those in South Dakota, from applying for these loans. But changing a federal regulation takes time. The change must be published in the Federal Register, comments must be taken, etc. It’s a near certainty that the COVID-19 emergency will be long past when the regulation is changed (and that assumes the SBA decides to make a change).

Is this fair? No. But it’s reality.