Child Support Taken From Casino Winnings? Not Yet in Illinois

In what some analysts call a rising trend, several states have recently passed laws requiring casinos to check for back child support owed by gamblers before giving them their winnings – minus any child support owed – at the casino cage. Illinois does not have such a law or program in place to recover past due child support payments, but some legislators say they are intent on passing such legislation next year.

Currently, five states divert gambling winnings from people who owe child support to the other parent of their children. According to the Chicago Tribune, the programs have collected almost $3 million in child support while avoiding placing significant burdens on casinos.

In Colorado, where a casino child-support confiscation law took effect in 2008, the system works like this: Casinos check the Social Security numbers of gamblers who win $1,200 or more at gambling machines or who beat odds of at least 300 to one and win more than $600 at table games, which are the points at which gamblers must report their winnings on federal tax forms.

Casino employees enter the winner’s Social Security number into a state computer system to check whether the individual owes back child support, and if so, how much. If the gambler owes child support, the amount owed is deducted from his or her casino winnings.

Illinois uses a similar system to divert lottery winnings and deny certain types of licenses (including driver’s licenses) to people who owe back child support. Yet, previous attempts to pass legislation to confiscate casino winnings in Illinois have thus far been unsuccessful because of concerns over how the program would be implemented. Some Illinois legislators, however, plan to continue to raise the issue until such a system is in place.

Source: Chicago Tribune, More states are deducting child support from casino jackpots, but not Illinois, Bill Ruthart, 4 October 2011

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