How Are Gambling Winnings and Debts Treated During a Divorce?


One question that often comes up in a divorce is how gambling winnings and debts are treated when dividing marital assets.

In most cases, California's community property laws state that all assets and debts incurred during a marriage belong equally to both spouses. This means that gambling winnings would need to be divided during a divorce. However, if there is evidence that one spouse suffers from a gambling problem, the court has the discretion to make a division of gambling debt based on fault instead of simply dividing the debt equally.

One recent case where the treatment of gambling winnings and debts may come into play is the divorce of Baywatch actress and Playboy model Pamela Anderson from film producer Rick Salomon. The couple married in January 2014. They were previously married in October 2007, but Anderson filed for divorce just two months after the wedding. This is the fourth divorce for each of them, counting their first divorce from each other. Anderson was previously married to musicians Tommy Lee and Kid Rock, while Salomon was previously married to actresses Elizabeth Daily and Shannen Doherty.

Salomon has been a fairly successful poker player for several years. On July 1, he won a $2.8 million prize in the World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop. Since Anderson filed for divorce in Los Angeles on July 3, she would be entitled to half of the prize unless the couple has a prenup stating otherwise.

Salomon and Anderson have no children together. However, parents of minor children should be advised that gambling winnings can be considered for the purpose of determining child support. Winnings in the form of an annuity are treated like income. Winnings delivered as lump sum payment are considered an asset. If applicable, lottery winnings can be seized to repay past-due child support.

How Can We Help?

If you have questions about the best way to divide assets during a divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena divorce attorneys can provide the legal representation you need to obtain a settlement that will ensure a secure financial future.