The Tax Court issued a summary opinion acknowledging that a woman who owned a trucking business took her slot machine playing seriously enough to qualify her as a professional gambler.
Linda M. Myers would spend part of her days operating her trucking business and then drive to a casino and spend the night playing slot machines. She wanted to be able to deduct $1.4 million in gambling losses for 2003 as an expense against her gambling winnings instead of as an itemized deduction. The Internal Revenue Service issued her a deficiency notice of $5,266 and said she was liable for a $1,055 accuracy-related penalty.
The Tax Court found that she spent 25 to 35 hours per week working at the trucking business, and about 40 hours per week on gambling. The court noted that she began gambling in 1992 after her husband's death, at first playing the $1 slot machines. She would talk to other gamblers and gradually became more serious about gambling. But she took little pleasure in the activity and found it "stressful, tiring and time-consuming," according to the court opinion.
She also did not go to the casinos with friends or companions, but would focus her time on winning, using strategies such as locating and playing slot machines that she believed were overdue to make a payout.
"Petitioner would carefully watch the results of each machine once she began using it," said the court. "If the slot machine began giving her free plays, doubles or triples, she viewed that as a very good sign and an indication that the slot machine was about to make a large payout."
The court found that Myers "engaged in the gambling activity with the actual and honest objective of making a profit in 2003" and allowed her to deduct her expenses.
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