$10m in Gambling Winnings Goes to Pay Child Support in Ohio

  • 2014 law requires casinos to help the state identify delinquent parents if winnings reach a certain level
  • Around $10m in gambling money has been intercepted in the state over the last five years
  • Ohio is one of several states that have intercept programs to help children receive overdue funds
Note to pay child support
Ohio intercept program requires gamblers to use winnings for back child support payments.

Intercepting casino wins

A law that was passed in 2014 requires casinos in Ohio to work with the state to identify individuals that have not paid court-ordered child support. Parents who win at the casinos are subject to having their prize intercepted based on the amount won and game played. In the past five years, nearly $10m (£7.65m) has been garnished by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services from casinos for delinquent child support payments.

The law covers slot games, table games, and high stakes gaming. Players who earn more than $600 (£459) in high-stakes games will have their winnings intercepted.  For slots and table games, amounts over $1,200 (£918) and $5,000 (£3,825) will be intercepted.

About $9.9m (£7.57m) has been collected since the law was enacted and about $100,000 (£76,505) is in the process of being collected. The largest amount, $1.9m (£1.45m) went to Cuyahoga County. Summit County was a close second, with $511,576.35 (£391,384.04) intercepted.

Department of Job and Family Services director Kimberly Hall said: “If noncustodial parents are behind on their child support, their winnings from gambling should fulfill their responsibility to their children first. It is paramount we deliver these funds to the children who deserve it.”

The intercept program works via cross-checks of gambling winnings with a database of debtors who are behind in child support payments. The same type of program has been in existence since 2001 for the lottery and racino winners, recouping millions for children whose parents have defaulted on payments.

Other gambling intercept programs

Louisiana, Colorado, and Indiana also have intercept style program to take winnings for delinquent child support payments.

Colorado’s program requires casinos to check a database for names after a win. A child support intercept is triggered if a player wins $1,200 (£918) at bingo or slots, $1,500 (£1148) from keno, or $5,000 (£3,825) from poker.

In Indiana, The state provides casinos with a list of individuals who are $2,000 (£1,530) or three months behind in payments. The casinos must check a player’s name against the list if the player wins $1,200 or more. The money is withheld if the player’s name is on the list.

A player who wins over $1,200 will be checked at the state-licensed casinos in Louisiana. If the gambler is found to be delinquent with child support payments, the money is taken and put toward the debt.