California poker players could pay more in taxes
A bill looks to stop tax-deductible gambling losses
Currently, gamblers in California are able to take deductions on certain gambling losses, including those from poker games. The amount saved through the legal deductions is hard to pinpoint, but poker players certainly won’t complain anytime they don’t have to shell out more money from their pockets. However, they will definitely have something to complain about if a California lawmaker gets his way. Assemblyman Adam Gray wants to eliminate the tax deduction in order to put more money in the cash-strapped state’s bank accounts.
Under California law, gamblers are able to claim deductions on their losses, as long as they are itemized on tax returns and the losses are not greater than the amount of gambling income reported. Gray asserts that the law is a “subsidy for the rich” that mainly benefits wealthy state residents who gamble at tribal casinos. He says that cutting the tax break would bring an additional $300 million to state coffers.
While the bill targets all gamblers, it will hit poker players the hardest. Many players only earn a modest income by squeezing out small margins playing at the state’s casinos and card clubs and losing the deduction is going to force them to take more out of their pockets to cover their tax liabilities.
The bill has already found opposition, especially in California’s tribes. Part of this is most likely due to the concern that the tribal casinos could lose money as gamblers stay away, but it is also somewhat personal. Gray has tried to introduce commercial gambling to the state, much to the dismay of California native Indians. However, the billions of dollars that the tribes give to the state afford them with a significant amount of power in legislative processes.