With Super Bowl XLVII taking over America’s television sets Sunday 2/3, professional sports is on the minds of many who enjoy the thrill of the game. This year’s match up features the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Baltimore Ravens against the National Football Conference (NFC) champion San Francisco 49ers, to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2012 season.

Nicknamed by many in the media as the Harbaugh Bowl, HarBowl or the Brother Bowl, this will be the first Super Bowl game featuring opposing head coaching brothers, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh. Move over Eli and Peyton Manning…. try that for sibling rivalry!

With the big game on the minds of many sports fans, and a topic of conversation at water coolers across America, it’s no surprise (that as someone working in the accounting field) I’m thinking about some very different aspects of the game.

What are some of the tax implications of the Super Bowl?

What about bets placed on the game and won?
Do winners have to declare their earnings on successful bets?

What about those Super Bowl rings?

Well, I did a bit of digging and here’s what I found out, for those of you interested in the accounting side of the big game!

According to an article from FoxBusiness, “The Super Bowl is the most gambled-on sporting event in the United States, with more than $100 million wagered on the game in some years. And that’s just the legal betting at sports books in Nevada, so far, where federal law allows sports gambling.”

But a figure like that is nothing when compared to illegal bets placed across the country. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimates that illegal sports wagers amount approximately $380 billion annually! That’s a lot of people hoping that they’re cheering for the right team!

Many people don’t realize that their gambling winnings are considered taxable income. But in some cases, the IRS steps in immediately. The Fox article states, “In some cases, the IRS gets its portion when winners are paid. Twenty-five percent is withheld from winnings of more than $5,000 from any sweepstakes, wagering pool or lottery or from betting proceeds that are 300 times or more the amount of the bet.”

To learn more about the tax legalities of other games like keno, bingo and slots, check out the interesting article here! There’s a lot of interesting details about the tax implication of bets and games of chance.

But what about how much money the Super Bowl winners receive for their big win? I found this interesting article on ehow.com, taking a look at the history of a winner’s payout, and what players through the years saw as their financial reward. According to the article, did you know that teams must pay their players within 15 days of the Super Bowl and that the first 11 Super Bowls saw winners take home $15,000 per man? Interesting stuff!

And last, what about the Super Bowl rings, the prized possession of many athletes who have accomplished a win? Here are some interesting facts:

From an article on NBCSports.com– In 2011, Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, who played guard in the first two Super Bowls for the Green Bay Packers, had his Super Bowl II seized by U.S. marshals, who planned to sell it to recover some of the $1.7 Million Thurston owed in back taxes.

From statisticbrain.com’s October 2012 research, here is an interesting chart of the Players/Coaches with the most Super Bowl rings. That’s a lot of bling!

You can also check out Wikipedia’s SuperBowl rings page to learn more about the value and resale of many rings through the years.

A little accounting food for thought on Sunday. Enjoy the game, and I hope your team wins!