Casinos checking overdue child support

Published 10:22 am Monday, September 22, 2014

DAYTON (AP) — Gamblers who hit jackpots in Ohio won’t be the only winners if they owe back child support.

An “intercept program” that cross-checks large gambling winnings against a database of debtors recently expanded to include Ohio casino checks for overdue child support.

The four casinos in Ohio have begun working with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to identify those who owe back child support, the Dayton Daily News reported.

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The intercept program that has recouped nearly $3 million since 2001 from lottery and racino winners debuted this past week at the casinos. Winnings that trigger database checks include $1,200 or more from slot machine jackpots, $5,000 or more for table games or $600 or more in high-stakes games,

“You have obligations that you need to take care of,” said state Rep. Ross McGregor, who was a sponsor of the House bill that included the casino provision.

Job and Family Services spokesman Ben Johnson said the agency expects it will be able to collect a significant amount of money for children around the state.

The Ohio Lottery, which regulates the state’s seven racinos, also works with Job and Family Services on the initiative. It checks winnings of $600 or more for child support and partners with the Ohio Attorney General’s office to screen winnings of $5,000 or more for such things as back taxes and student loans.

“If you owe any money, if you have back taxes, it will show up when they run this report and that money is taken out of your prize,” Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Danielle Frizzi-Babb said.

For now, the casinos only sweep for child support. But McGregor says casino winnings possibly could be scanned some day for other types of debts.

“It makes sense, but right now this is a good start and the beneficiaries are the people who really need it,” McGregor said.