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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Gaming Record-Keeping Made Easy

13 October 1999

Casino gambling isn't all fun and games, especially when it comes to your bankroll. In most cases there's serious money involved over the course of a year, no matter what your level of play. You'd be wise, therefore, if you treat the money you bring to the casino as an investment. The money with which you gamble should be tracked in much the same way as a stock market portfolio.

There can be serious tax ramifications in connection with your casino play. If you win a slot jackpot of $1,200 or more, no matter what denomination machine you happen to be playing, the money is reported to the IRS by the casino. You, in turn, must report it as gambling winnings with your individual return.

It's possible to offset the winnings IF you can properly document losses. The only way to document losses is diligent record keeping. One good way to begin is to start keeping a journal, either by hand in a notebook or in your home computer.

Every time you go gambling, make an entry in your journal noting the date, the casino you attended, the time of the cruise, the amount of money you gambled, the games you played, and your net losses or gains. Make special note of anything unusual in the way of wins or losses, and be sure to keep in a special envelope any receipts from parking, dining, cash advances, etc.

Always be sure to use your player's club tracking card, too, because at the end of the year you can file a special request in writing with the casinos at which you played, asking for a printout of your account. The information contained in the printout varies from casino to casino, but generally it shows coin-in, coin-out play on slot machines. If you're interested in obtaining such information, just call the casino.

In addition to serving a practical purpose, keeping gaming records also puts your play into proper perspective. It's always good to know what your hobby is actually costing you, and if that cost is worth it to you as entertainment. You may also want to know what kind of profits you're showing!

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp