How to Handle Wins — and Losses — From Betting on the Big Game

The biggest gambling event of the year happens every first Sunday in February. You know what we’re talking about: the Big Game. Making a bet on the Big Game can include more traditional options like wagering straight up on the result. Alternative betting options range from playing daily fantasy sports like DraftKings and FanDuel to getting in on a digital square.  
Then you’ve got goofy prop bets that really have nothing to do with the game, like what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning head coach (blue for the Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians) and how long will the national anthem run (it was the over for Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church). 
The gambling world is your oyster come every first Sunday of February. However you fared, here are ways to take care of your financial gains or losses from Big Game bets. 
Facts and figures on Big Game betting
According to an American Gaming Association (AGA) report, more than 23 million Americans—or nearly a quarter of those who typically watch the Big Game—were expected to bet about $4.3 billion on this year’s matchup between the Chiefs and Buccaneers. 
Given the increase in legal options for online betting as well as the implications of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of Big Game bettors who used online sportsbooks was expected to reach a record 7.6 million, a 63% increase from 2020. 
Meanwhile, plans for in-person bets, bets with bookies, square/box bets, and casual betting were all down from last year, per AGA. 
What to do with your Big Game winnings
You’re going to Disney World! OK, maybe not until you get vaccinated. But that’s certainly an option if you won big. 
The first thing to consider, though, is how much you’ll have to pay in taxes. Gambling winnings are fully taxable, so you’ll need to report your winnings as income on your 2021 tax return. 
If you’re suddenly in the black, this might be a good time to increase your efforts toward paying down debt. Figure out a debt repayment plan and use a debt payoff calculator to see how you can potentially pay off your debt more quickly and save money on interest.  
What to do if you lost big in Big Game betting
If your Big Game bets lost big, you’re not alone. More people lose big than win big—the house always wins, after all. 
If you’ve accumulated gambling debt, start by listing out all your debts, whether it’s credit card debt, loans from friends and family, or money owed to casinos. Figure out which of these is most important to pay off first and work your way down to the lowest priority debt. 
Finally, decide how you’ll repay your debts. You may want to consider personal loans, selling off assets, or debt settlement, depending on your situation. 
If you or someone you love suffers from gambling addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). 
Source: Credello