US Casinos Withhold Jackpots From Child Support ShirkersAugust 9, 2011 5:43 am
After the Indiana General Assembly implemented the intercept program in October 2010, hundreds of casino jackpot winners have had their monies withheld until any outstanding child support payments they may have had were paid up.
Indiana state has 13 casinos and under the recent law the casinos are provided with the names of parents who owe more than $2,000 or are at least three months behind on their child support payments.
Then when one such casino patron wins $1,200 or more, the money is then withheld by the casino before handing it over to the Department of Child Services who then pass it onto the families.
When the scheme was first introduced, casinos in the state were concerned with having been saddled with a traditionally governmental enforcement role, the extra work involved in the undertaking, as well as any potential trouble arising from disgruntled customers on the casino floor.
“It takes time and that was one of our concerns. We have to key in the information. We have to go on the Internet to check. We’ll be doing hundreds of thousands of searches in a year to find a relatively small number of people,” explained Casino Association of Indiana executive director Mike Smith.
However, almost a year down the road and $650,000 from 376 people has already been withheld by the Indiana casinos thus helping out around 550 children. There is even something extra in it for the casinos, too, which pocket a small fee for doing the checks, which currently amounts to $16,000 since the intercept program was started.
Summing up the satisfaction felt on how the program has been operating so far, Indiana Department of Child Services deputy director Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond commented:
“This is one of the coolest things we’ve ever done. I think many of these folks are going to be happy to get this burden off their backs. It was a phenomenal thing to do.”