Scratch-off Tickets – Start Winning Today!

“Free Scratch Tickets, Real Prizes! Click on the scratch ticket image to play your free scratch ticket for real prizes now! No cost, no registration! You must be over 18 years. This contest is VOID in any jurisdiction within the United States, Canada or elsewhere where participation is prohibited by law.” — MR FREE

The sound of the word “free” is tempting; and the sound of the phrase “real prizes” is even more appealing. What is there to lose? Anyway, it’s all free. The ad said it requires no information and all you got to do is to click the image to play your free scratch tickets. Everything seems like it’s a win-win situation.

You have probably just joined the thousands of people who could not resist scratching the card using the mouse and rubbing off the ticket’s covering… Congratulations you have won!!! Or, have you?

Free scratch tickets, instant win game, scratch off, free scratch cards, scratch and win, scratch ticket, scratcher, scratch to match, scratch2cash, scratch prize tickets, scratch off, scratch game – there are indeed a lot of names for these games. The common goal is to have anything from 3, 6 or 9 and the golden or silver panels are meant to be rubbed to reveal the symbols. Most of the themes are colorful and they range from pictures of pirates, cowboys, space, card symbols or even just anything under the sun. Surprisingly, almost all of the free scratch tickets always reveal winning symbols. Indeed, they’re free; but where is the catch?

Some websites will give you chances to play free online. They won’t ask you to register any information until such time that you would have to be notified if you’ve won the game. So after finishing the game, you would have to reveal your name and e-mail address. Other scratch cards websites are even more intrusive. They would even ask for your address, phone number, occupation, marital status, salary range, age, date of birth, and a lot more of information. In a way, it doesn’t seem free at all. You have given your information and that’s the payment for playing their online free scratch tickets.

And what happens to the prize? Certainly you are given the jackpot prize points that you can spend on their website. You can play more games that give you more chances of winning as you reveal more of yourself. During your visits, you are tempted to play more. You start to gamble and you get yourself in a situation that most internet gamblers are in. Your free scratch tickets have leading you to the road of online gambling. Months will pass and you would become an active member of the online gambling community. Sooner or later, you would find yourself betting more than you can afford.

Free scratch tickets definitely sound appealing. They would always persuade you to start playing and start winning. Nevertheless, as soon as you start winning; you start to keep yourself from resisting or from stopping.

Sports Gambling – How to Know How Much to Bet Per Event

The most common mistake amateur and professional sports gamblers make is betting too much on individual events. A simple hard and fast rule is to never bet more than 2.5% of your sports betting balance on any given sporting event. However, before we get to the details of how much to bet there are a few basic rules that any sports gambler must remember:

Rule 1: NEVER bet more than you can afford to lose. This is the one rule that too many people ignore before it is too late. Ignoring this the rule creates all the horror stories. In sports gambling you must remember that there will be hot streaks and cold streaks and you do not want to subject your rent money or mortgage payment to any risk what-so-ever. If the money you are using to gamble is earmarked for a necessity then you should not be gambling with it. Only gamble with discretionary income.

Rule 2: NEVER bet with your heart. This, again, is one simple rule that many gamblers seem to ignore. If the Dallas Cowboys are your favorite team, you must recognize (despite what you may think) that you WILL be biased in trying to determine the winner of any of their games. The common (mistaken) logic is that because they are your favorite team you know more about that team and therefore, you should be able to make a determination about the winner of their games. Nothing is further from the truth. The problem with this logic is that you listen to biased Sports Radio regarding your team, you read biased Newspaper articles regarding your team and most importantly, you are biased about your team. The best rule to follow is to avoid betting on any game that involves a team that you have ANY allegiance toward.

Rule 3: NEVER bet on a game because it is on Television. It is okay to bet on a game that is on Television, but do not bet on a game SOLELY because it is on television.

Rule 4: ALWAYS bet the same amount on every event that you bet. To state it differently, do not play $250 on Pittsburgh versus Dallas, $150 on New England versus Indianapolis and $500 on Oakland versus Chicago. The only reason Sports Gamblers do this is because they feel more confident about Oakland versus Chicago, less confident about Pittsburgh versus Dallas and slightly confident about New England versus Indianapolis. All too often, the “best” pick of the day, turns out wrong, a back door cover creates a loss or a late interception causes a change in the result of the game. DO NOT FALL FOR THE 5 STAR LOCK OF THE DAY. This is why: Say Steve bets $500 on Oakland +7 versus Chicago; $250 on Pittsburgh +4 versus Dallas and $150 on New England -3 versus Indianapolis. Further say Tom makes the EXACT three same picks, but bets $300 on each game. Both gamblers have bet $900.00. Assume Oakland does not cover but Pittsburgh and New England do cover. Steve won 2 games and lost 1, but has lost $100.00 ($250+$150-$500). Tom on the other hand has won 2 games and lost 1, but has won $300.00 ($300+$300-$300). There is nothing more frustrating than having a winning percentage, but losing money.

Rule 5: NEVER bet more than 2.5% of your bankroll on any single event. If your balance in your sports betting account is $1000.00 then you should bet $25.00 per game. The reason is very simple. If you bet $25.00 per game you would have to lose 40 straight games before your account busted. If you bet $100.00 per game (10% of your balance) you would only have to lose 10 straight before your account busted. In other words, by betting 2.5% of your account balance on any given game, you INSURE yourself that you will be able to withstand even the worst losing streak. Make sure that you follow Rule #4 as well…Do Not bet more money on one game and less on another.

Rule 6: Once you increase the amount you bet per game, DO NOT reduce the amount you bet per game. Further, you should only increase the amount you bet per game once you have increased your bankroll by 25%. Taking our example above further. If the bankroll is $1,000.00 then the bet is $25.00 per game UNTIL the original balance is increased to $1,250.00. At this point, the amount bet per game is increased to $31.25 per game (or 2.5% of $1,250.00). You would continue at this amount until the balance is increased against by 25% (to $1,560). If you would begin to lose and you fall below the last benchmark YOU DO NOT REDUCE the amount bet per game. If you do, you will find yourself in a never ending cycle.

Following these 6 simple and rather basic rules you will find that sports gambling will become less stressful and more fun.

Gambler Loses Twice – Thanks To Tax Court

Jimmie Clemons, retired, received a Form W-2G reporting $44,800.00 in winnings from a casino. As his gambling losses for the year were more than $44,800.00, he did not report any winnings or losses on his 1040.

The Tax Court, in Jimmie L Clemons T.C. Summary Opinion 2005-109, upheld the IRS position that gross gambling winnings must be reported as income on Page 1 of the tax return, with losses, to the extent of winnings, allowed as a “miscellaneous” Itemized Deduction. The losses can be deducted in full on Schedule A, and are not subject to the 2% of AGI exclusion.

While Jimmie was able to deduct $44,800.00 in losses to wipe out his $44,800.00 of income, the fact that the winnings were included in his Adjusted Gross Income caused 85% of his Social Security benefits to be taxed!

As a tax professional with a practice in New Jersey, and my share of regular lottery players and senior citizens who frequent the casinos of Atlantic City as clients, I have seen many examples where a taxpayer with net gambling losses for the year is royally screwed by “Uncle Sam”.

* Because of the way Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits are taxed, there often exists a situation where you would be taxed on $1.85 for every additional $1.00 of income. If you have $3,000.00 in gambling winnings and $4,000.00 in substantiated gambling losses you could end up increasing your AGI by $5,550.00 ($3,000.00 x 185%). Even if you can take full advantage of an itemized deduction of $3,000.00 in losses, you still could end up paying $383.00 in federal income tax in the 15% bracket, or $638.00 in the 25% bracket, on a net loss for the year of $1,000.00.

* Even if you can deduct enough losses to wipe out your gambling income, an increased AGI could reduce your allowable medical and miscellaneous job and investment related deductions, reduce or even wipe out a multitude of deductions and credits that are affected by AGI, and even cause you to fall victim to the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

* You can only receive the full tax benefit from deducting gambling losses if the total of your other Itemized Deductions equals or exceeds the allowable Standard Deduction. What if a single taxpayer with $5,000.00 in winnings and $6,000.00 in losses has only $2,000.00 in other deductions (i.e. state and local taxes and charitable contributions). While he can deduct $5,000.00 in gambling losses, he only gets a tax benefit for $2,000.00 of the losses: $5,000.00 losses + $2,000.00 other deductions = $7,000.00 Schedule A – $5,000.00 Standard Deduction = $2,000.00 tax benefit. If he is in the 25% bracket he still ends up paying $750.00 in federal income tax on $1,000.00 in losses.

I should point out that losses from any type of wagering transaction can be deducted against your gambling winnings. If you win in the slots your deduction is not limited to losses from slot machines. You can deduct losses from the lottery, 50-50s, bingo, table games such as poker and blackjack, charity raffles, horse racing, keno, etc., up to the amount of your total winnings. It is a good idea to keep your losing lottery, raffle and racetrack tickets for the year, and keep track of slot activity by using a player’s card, in case you make a big score. If you are unlucky enough to be chosen for an audit of your losses here is a word of advice – make sure your losing racetrack tickets to not have footprints on them.

You should also know that winnings from a “no purchase necessary” marketing sweepstakes or contest are not considered to be gambling winnings for the purpose of calculating deductible gambling losses. The IRS defines gambling winnings as winnings from a “wagering transaction”. A recent IRS “Technical Advice Memorandum” (TAM 200417004) states that such winings are not gains from a “wagering transaction” because the winner did not furnish “consideration” for the chance to win the prize. If you win the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes, or a trip to Club Med by being the 10th caller to a radio station, you must report the winnings, or the market value of the trip, as income on your Form 1040, but you cannot deduct any losing lottery tickets, slot machine losses, or any other kind of gambling losses against this income.

The unfair way gambling winnings and losses are treated on the 1040 is similar to the unfair way most taxable legal awards and settlements and the related legal fees are treated. Let us hope that the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform will address these inequities in the tax code in its report.

The Eight Basic Rules of Sports Gambling

The below are the rules that avoid most common mistakes made by sports gamblers. Follow these 8 basic rules and you will find your sports betting balance growing quickly:

1. Never, no matter what, bet more than you can afford to lose.

2. Always bet no more than 2.5% to 3.5% of your balance per wager. For example, if your wagering account balance is $1,000.00. You would not bet more than $25.00 or $35.00 per bet.

3. Only increase the amount you bet per wager once you have increased your balance by 25%. For example, if your starting balance was $1,000.00 you would bet $25.00 per bet until you reached $1,250.00. At this point you would increase the amount you wager per bet to $31.00 per wager. You would continue to wager $31.00 per bet until your balance increased again by 25% (when it hit $1,560.00).

4. Never decrease the amount you wager per contest. This is a sure fire recipe for dissaster.

5. Always play the same amount on every wager. In other words, do NOT play $25.00 on one game and $15.00 on another game. Bet 2.5% of your balance on every play you make.

6. Do not play parlays. Parlays have great payouts, but the odds of winning and the Return on Investment (ROI%) can be poor. If you want to play a parlay for the potential big payout, play less than 1% of your balance on the parlay.

7. Track your Return on Investment (ROI%). Return on Investment is a mathematic formula that tells you how much money you win for every dollar that you bet. For example if your ROI% is 50%, then for every $1.00 you bet you win $0.50 (or for every $100.00 you bet, you win $50.00). ROI% is expressed as a percentage and is figured by dividing the total amount of your winnings by the total amount you have wagered.

8. Track your ROI% on each sport individually. You will learn your strengths and weaknesses.