I can’t wait for pinball to be mainstream enough that kids are getting pinball scholarships. Yeah my kid is got a free ride to Stanford on a Pinball scholarships. NCAA Pinball, that is a sport I could get behind.
I know from poker experience that a gambler can write off losses up to (but not exceeding) the amount of money won for the year. So if I buy into ten $1k tourneys, brick nine, and cash one for $15k, I’m only on the hook for $5k after deductions.
I doubt that pinball events count as gambling for tax purposes, which means it’s very possible to be a losing player for the year and still pay taxes on winnings. Especially when you consider travel expenses, which can only be written off by a true professional gambler on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business.
I would give the cash to the adult just to be safe, there are all kinds of laws regarding kids. In our state (WI) cash payouts are not legal at all.