November 2, 2017
By Riley Snyder
The long-awaited House tax overhaul plan released Thursday contained a minor change to the tax code that could affect one of Nevada’s primary industries — deductible losses associated with gambling.
One of the several changes made in the 429-page bill promoted by Republicans as the first major tax code overhaul since 1986 is a modification in how gambling losses are itemized — a change that congressional officials estimate would increase revenues by $0.1 billion over the next ten years.
Individuals who itemize their deductions are currently allowed to deduct gambling losses, but limited to the amount of winnings reported on a tax return.
Taxpayers are allowed to claim other deductions related to gambling that fall into the category of “expenses incurred in carrying out wagering transactions” beyond the amount won and reported by the individual. This primarily applies to professional gamblers, who under a recent Tax Court order are able to apply business expenses related to gambling toward their deductions.
The bill would remove that expanded gambling deduction and limit it to the extent of gambling wins. The change, as proposed in the bill, would be effective for tax years after 2017.
In a statement, American Gaming Association head Geoff Freeman didn’t address the specific change but called the initial tax bill “an important first step” that reflected many of the trade group’s priorities.
“The proposal from the House Ways and Means Committee is an important first step in advancing the discussion on tax reform and reflects many of AGA’s priorities,” he said in an email. “AGA looks forward to working with our members, Congress and the Trump Administration to ensure any proposal provides a net benefit for the economic health and growth of the nation and our industry.”
One other part of the House proposal is a section that takes away tax-exempt municipal bonds offered by states and localities for professional stadiums. Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said he has contacted the Oakland Raiders and is talking to the county’s legal adviser and bond counsel to see if there is an impact to the county’s planned issuing of bonds on the planned football stadium in Las Vegas.