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Can We Get a Show of Hands From People Who Plan to Declare Their Super Bowl Gambling Winnings?

You may have heard about or even watched a sporting event known as the Super Bowl that was played last night. This particular mother of all bowls saw the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, paying a tidy sum for anyone that picked them last spring. Which brings me to my next point: while the Super Bowl is a grand occasion that involves athletes at the top of their game, expensive ads and shitty, over-hyped halftime shows, it’s also means an epic amount of wagering. Everything from the coin flip to last year’s odds on Reggies Bush’s total yardage versus Kim Kardashian’s measurements are popular ways to earn yourself some free money (or, if you’re on the losing side, a broken tibia).

And believe it or not, most gamblers appear to be a honest lot with over $27 billion declared gambling winnings in 2008 (the most recent data available). However, because avoiding taxes is as American as, well, the Super Bowl you can bet that a lot of the winnings don’t ever see a 1040. The exact amount of unreported winnings is, like that the secret ingredient in that dip you were inhaling last night, a mystery. Kay Bell reports:

As for how many taxpayers didn’t completely ‘fess up on 2008 returns about their gambling income, the IRS won’t even venture a guess. Or as an IRS spokesman once told me, “We can’t tell you what we don’t know.”

But guesstimating that a whole heck of a lot of gambling income never gets taxed is a very safe bet.

But don’t worry if you missed some sweet, tax-free action on last night’s game. March Madness isn’t far off.

By the Numbers: $27.197 billion [DWMT]