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Parents may see casino jackpots go toward child support bill

In Massachusetts, state law intercepts gambling winnings over $600 if the person owes child support. More and more states are putting this law in place, with Ohio being the latest to consider such actions.

House Bill 483 would seize gambling winnings if the winner is overdue on paying child support. A data-match program would be created so that the state's casinos could identify if a person owes child support before giving him or her the payout. However, not all payouts would used toward child support obligations. The new law would focus on larger payouts.

The minimum would be $600 from racetrack winnings, $1,200 from a slot machine and $5,000 from a poker tournament. That means that if a person wins multiple payouts of $1,000 each, he or she would not have to use the winnings toward child support.

However, if a parent does win a hefty jackpot, the entire winnings -- not just a percentage -- could be seized. If a person owes $5,000 in child support, but wins $2,000 playing slot machines, the person is going home with nothing.

The state hopes to collect more than $1 million in child support from gambling earnings each year. By September 2015, the state hopes to collect 70 percent of the child support owed with the help of gambling earnings.

States put these laws in place to help out those who need it the most -- children. It takes a lot of money to raise a child until adulthood, especially in a one-income or one-parent family. Delinquent payments put a strain on custodial parents, so it is hopeful that this law will work as intended.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Casino jackpots in Ohio might be seized for child support" Catherine Candisky, May. 07, 2014

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