March 26, 2019

Potential New Indiana Law Targets Gamblers

A proposed bill in Indiana could force parents who are behind on their child support payments to hand over their gambling winnings to their children.

The legislation, which is being considered by the Judiciary Committee of the Jackpotstate Senate, would withhold casino jackpot winnings from parents who are behind on their child support payments. For example, winners of slot-machine winnings of $1,200 or more would be checked for delinquent child support when they try and cash their prize.

Over 165,000 non-custodial parents each owe more than $2,000 in child support, which equals over $2 billion in child support delinquencies, according to the state Department of Child Services, which is pushing the legislation. In a state where only 58 percent of child support payments are collected, the proposed bill is gaining support.

Stuart Showalter, of Indiana Shared Parenting, does not believe that parents who are having difficulty paying child support should be gambling with their money. Indiana Department of Child Services Spokesperson Ann Housworth believes that the custodial parents that are owed money, and their children, could benefit from any money collected with the proposed legislation.

Obviously, there are two sides to the issue. Indiana casinos are not in favor of the bill and worry that the legislation will cause too much of a delay on casino floors while names of big winners are checked for delinquent child support. According to Mike Smith, President of the Casino Association of Indiana, the delay will customers since casinos are fast-paced environments and winners want to be paid quickly. Smith also argues that because 70% of business comes from out of state, he’s not sure how successful the collections would be.

Regarding an argument that the casinos should not have to do the government’s dirty work to collect child support, an unsympathetic Indiana Sen. Scott Schneider (Indianapolis) says the state created the gambling industry, and casinos need to play by its rules.



About

Jonathan Ginsberg practices Social Security disability law in Atlanta, Georgia.  He represents clients in claims before the Social Security Administration.

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