By Nathan Vinson
Attorney, English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP
Ah, spring in Kentucky. If you automatically think of horse racing when you read that statement, you’re not alone – lots of folks do. It’s a great pastime particularly beloved in the Bluegrass State.
This year, we’ve watched the rise of American Pharaoh as the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Next up is the Belmont Stakes, set for June 6 in Belmont Park, Elmont, New York. If American Pharaoh takes the Belmont Stakes, he will be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The allure of picking a Triple Crown winner often draws a lot of interest from long-time gamblers and novices alike, so we thought we’d review with you what happens if you do, indeed, win big at the track.
If you are clutching that winning ticket as your pony crosses the finish line, it’s a safe bet that the government wants a cut of those winnings.
There are two ways to win at the track: (1) bet on a horse or (2) own a horse. The government is only interested in knowing about your win as a gambler if you win $600 or more, and if your winnings are at least 300 times your wager (e.g. winning $600 on a $2 bet). Of course, all winnings, no matter what the amount, are taxable.