Welcome to the first Sunday of the 2022 National Football League season. It's the best day of the week for U.S. professional football fans.
Yeah, I know the first game was last Thursday night and the Buffalo Bills sent a message to the defending Super Bowl champs, in L.A., no less, and everyone else.
But today is full of America's most popular sport. There are 14 match-ups, starting at noon Central Time. That's where I am, so that's that flyover clock reading that my search (shown below) gave me. Adjust accordingly for your team and time zone.
Then the first week of the 2022 NFL season wraps up on Monday night with that usual weeknight game.
Fans of all the teams are, as the song says, ready for some football, filled with hope as their favorites take fields across the country.
Place your legal bets: Gamblers are ready, too. Lots of them.
A record 46.6 million American adults plan to bet on games during this NFL season, according to new research from the American Gaming Association (AGA). That's an increase of three percent from the 2021 percentage of pro football game bettors.
Those 46.6 million NFL bettors also earn this week's By the Numbers honor.
Since we've become such digital creatures, it's no surprise that 23 million of those bettors expect to place a bet online this season, up 18 percent from 2021.
But there still are some old school wagerers. AGA found that 10.6 million will place a bet in person at a sportsbook this season. That also is an increase, up 2 percent from 2021.
Legalized sports gambling growing: An obvious reason for the increase is the growth of legalized sports betting in the wake of the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that left wagering rules up to states.
Sports betting currently is legal in most states and Washington, D.C., with 32 jurisdictions already offering operational markets.
The major professional sports leagues have sponsorship deals with legal gambling operations. Super Bowl LVII next year will be in Arizona, becoming the first NFL championship game to be played in a legal sports betting jurisdiction.
As for contenders for the Lombardi Trophy, most NFL teams are in states with legal betting. California could join that group if its voters say OK in November. That would leave Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas as the no-wagering holdouts. Not sure what that might mean for those states' NFL teams chances.
U.S. Treasury's take growing, too: The trend toward legal sports betting also is good news for the Internal Revenue Service. As more states legalize sports betting, bettors are moving away from bookies and toward regulated options.
Just 13 percent of NFL bettors told the AGA that they will use a bookie this year, down two points from 2021, and five points lower than in 2020. In fact, says the AGA, bookie usage is 50 percent higher in states without legal betting options.
Report your winnings: The bonus for the IRS is that legal betting operations report what they pay you. In some cases, the sportsbooks take federal taxes out before handing you your winnings.
That reporting is to you and the IRS generally is on Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings. It shows not only what you won, but also any of the aforementioned federal income tax withheld on those winnings.
The requirements for reporting and withholding depend on the type of gambling, the amount of the gambling winnings, and generally the ratio of the winnings to the wager. The withholding rate under applicable to winnings of $5,000 or more from sweepstakes, wagering pools, certain pari-mutuel pools, jai alai, and lotteries 24 percent.
That same 24 percent rate also applies to backup withholding requirements. This happens when a winning bettor doesn't furnish the betting establishment a correct taxpayer identification number.
Reportable even without a form: What if you don't get a formal W-2G? You still legally are required to report your winnings, all of them, on your tax return. The amount goes on line 8b of Form 1040 Schedule 1.
But you may be able to reduce the amount by counting your gambling losses. You'll have to itemize to do so, and include your gambling losses on line 16 of your Schedule A.
Note that your loss claim is limited to the amount of your gambling winnings. You can zero your winnings out for tax purposes, but you can't use the losses to reduce other income.
And if you don't have enough other expenses to make itemizing more beneficial than claiming the standard deduction, then you'll just have to live with paying tax on all your winnings.
But, hey, at least you and your teams won on the field, if not on your tax return.
You also might find these items of interest:
- Reporting gambling winnings, other income on Schedule 1
- NFL's 2021 season kicks off official gambling partnerships along with games
- Gambling revenue not as lucrative as states hoped, but Super Bowl betting bump helps