Biggest News for Horseplayers & Bettors in Decades

Treasury/IRS Issue Updates Tax Rules

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today announced that they will formally adopt modernized regulations regarding the withholding and reporting of pari-mutuel proceeds. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association(NTRA) has long pressed for these updated regulations that will allow horseplayers to keep more of their winnings, thereby increasing the amount wagered on U.S. pari-mutuel racing by as much as 10 percent annually, or upwards of $1 billion, according to independent estimates. The new rules were posted late Monday afternoon as a Public Inspection Document. They are scheduled to be officially published in Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register and will go into full effect by no later than Nov. 14, giving racing associations, totalisator companies, and advance deposit wagering (ADW) operators up to 45 days to implement these important changes; however, some may elect to start as soon as Thursday.

Washington DC“These landmark U.S. Treasury regulations will have an enormously positive impact on horseplayers, the racing industry, and the federal government,” said NTRA President & CEO Alex Waldrop. “I am extremely proud of the NTRA’s legislative team for spearheading this effort, which will prove to be among the most meaningful regulatory advances made by our industry in decades. The results of this much-needed measure will be horseplayers keeping more of their winnings, racetracks generating more pari-mutuel handle, and government collecting additional tax revenue. This is a sure bet where everyone wins!”

Added Waldrop: “This day would never have come without the persistence of Thoroughbred racing’s friends in Congress, especially Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Rep. Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and our many bipartisan supporters on Capitol Hill. We also are indebted to the industry stakeholders and thousands of customers of Thoroughbred racing who signed our petition or submitted public comments in favor of these changes.”

Under the new regulations, the IRS will consider the inclusion of a bettor’s entire investment in a single pari-mutuel pool when determining the amount reported or withheld for tax purposes, as opposed to only the amount wagered on the correct result.

For example, the amount wagered by a Pick Six player who hits with one of 140 combinations on a $1-minimum wager now will be $140, which is the total amount bet into the Pick Six pool. This more accurate calculation will remove the significant reporting and withholding obligations on horseplayers and the unnecessary paperwork for the IRS that was a result of the prior rule that used only the $1 bet on the single winning combination as the amount wagered.

Chris Larmey

“This is a major victory for all pari-mutuel wagering customers,” said Judy Wagner, the Horseplayers’ Representative on the NTRA Board of Directors and winner of the 2001 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). “It would not have occurred without the leadership of the NTRA and the support of thousands of horseplayers who actively participated in the process to modernize these regulations.”

In 2015 longtime horseplayers Judy Wagner and Chris Larmey traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss this vital issue with the Treasury Department.

The amended regulations, advocated by the NTRA and its legislative team, define the “amount of the wager” to include the entire amount wagered into a specific pari-mutuel pool by an individual – not just the winning base unit as is the case today – so long as all wagers made into a specific pool by an individual are made on a single totalisator ticket if the wager is placed onsite. The modernized regulations will have the same positive results for ADW customers and will not impact how those wagers are currently made.

View the full text of the new rule under section 3402(q) of the Internal Revenue Code here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2017-20720.pdf.

The NTRA has pushed for the modernization of pari-mutuel withholding and reporting rules for several years. As more and more pari-mutuel wagering was directed toward exotic wagering pools it become clear that the tax rules were becoming an increasing and unfair burden on horseplayers as those outdated rules significantly increased the incidence of winning tickets subject to withholding and reporting. These new rules are the product of all the work the NTRA, and other industry stakeholders, undertook with Congressional representatives and Treasury and IRS officials.

“This represents a great triumph by the entire NTRA legislative team, including the bipartisan Horse PAC, which played an instrumental role in the passage of these regulations that will benefit all segments of the industry,” said Horse PAC chairman William S. (Bill) Farish. “We thank the hundreds of individual stakeholders who contribute to Horse PAC; they played a major role in today’s victory.”

Waldrop noted that the NTRA has been working behind the scenes since January with industry groups – including totalisator companies, ADWs, and racing organizations – to ensure a smooth implementation for customers.

“For the industry to fully realize the benefits of modernized regulations for pari-mutuel withholding and reporting it is essential that we deliver a seamless transition to our customers,” he said. “We are optimistic that the industry will be fully prepared to institute these landmark changes by no later than November 14.”

Congratulations to all horseplayers nationwide!

Appropriations Bill Encouraging Modernization of Pari-Mutuel Tax Rules Passed by House

House Passes Appropriations Bill Encouraging Modernization of Pari-Mutuel Tax Rules – NTRA

Larmey_congrats655x330  Editor’s Note: We’d like to give a shout out to our friends Judy Wagner and Chris Larmey who were extremely instrumental in pitching the case for horseplayers to the representatives in Washington D.C. last year.

July, 2016

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill Thursday evening that includes report language detailing Committee on Appropriations instructions for the U.S. Treasury to “expedite final consideration of the guidance which would modernize the rules governing pari-mutuel wagering.”

The bill (HR 5485) provides $21.7 billion in annual funding for the Treasury Department, the Judiciary, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other related agencies. A companion bill in the Senate containing identical “Guidelines for Pari-mutuel Winnings” has been passed out of committee and now awaits passage by the full Senate.

Language in the House Appropriations Committee Report reads:

Guidelines for Pari-mutuel Winnings.—The Committee appreciates the Department of the Treasury’s proposed rule (REG– 132253–11) published on March 4, 2015, along with the associated public hearing held on June 17, 2015. The Committee encourages the Treasury to expedite final consideration of the guidance which would modernize the rules governing pari-mutuel wagering. 

“The House [has] passed a bill that prioritizes funding where it will be best used, and makes policy reforms that improve efficiency and accountability and rein in executive overreach,” House Appropriations Chairman and U.S. Representative Hal Rogers (KY) said.

Recent actions by the House and Senate are the latest in a concerted, industry-wide effort to modernize regulations relating to pari-mutuel winnings. Updates proposed by the NTRA would clarify regulations by redefining the “amount of the wager” to include all of a bettor’s investment into a single pari-mutuel pool, and not simply the base amount of the winning combination. The effort has received support from Members of Congress as well as all segments of the horse racing industry, including customers, who last year submitted nearly 12,000 comments to the Treasury and IRS in support of the proposed change.

“Modernization of tax regulations relating to pari-mutuel winnings is a top priority of the NTRA in Washington,” NTRA President and CEO Alex Waldrop said. “We appreciate the fact that the House recognizes the need to modernize pari-mutuel tax regulations that are outdated and burdensome. It is time for the Treasury to act.”