Tax Break For Gambling Losses Could End

May 13, 2019

Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal to end a tax break on money lost by gambling.

When gamblers win money, they have to pay taxes on it. But when they lose money, they can deduct it from their taxable income, as long as the losses aren’t more than the amount they won. It’s a tax break that costs the state of Oregon nearly $6 million per year.


Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, says the policy exists solely because Oregon’s tax code largely mirrors the federal tax code, which also allows the deduction for gambling losses. Hass is pushing legislation, Senate Bill 212, that would end the Oregon version of the tax break.

"I think most Oregonians are okay with gambling," said Hass. "They just don’t think we should be subsidizing it.”

A lobbyist for Oregon’s tribal casinos testified against the measure, saying it would make people less likely to gamble. Tribes use the income from casinos to fund social service programs for their members.