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Fiona Simmons March 1, 2022 3 min read
“Jackpot Intercept” Program Effective in Collecting Delinquent Child Support Payments
Family comes first and so do your fiscal obligations to the state. In case you have decided to splurge on gambling before you fulfill those obligations, there are measures in place that make sure that you pay what you owe. Take the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGA) has been able to collect $3.7 million in owed payments by people who thought they could gamble before they paid child support or state tax.
Intercepting Jackpots to Pay for Child Support
Thanks to the “jackpot intercept” program, the Bay State has been able to track down jackpot winners whose money has been seized and allocated to cover those outstanding debts. The jackpot intercept program is part of the efforts led by the MGA’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and a similar program may be coming to other states.
The program only intercepts jackpots that are greater than $1,200 in slots or $5,000 for table games, though, which means that there still may be many people who manage to stay under the radar. If a bigger amount is won, the person’s social security number has to be run in order to retrieve the jackpot.
While MGA has seen the success of the program first-hand, other states are still slow to respond, writes the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but a law may be in the works. However, the law is not likely to be debated or passed until at least the 2023 legislative session. Interviewing Child Support Enforcement Program chief Cathy Kaplan, LVRJ found out that there are 83,500 delinquent child support cases.
Kaplan had insisted that those who owe money for child support should have their winnings withheld until the owed amount is covered. Another example comes from the Family Support Division of the Clark County Karen Cliffe. Cliffe cited Colorado casinos where the opposition against such a law was stiff. Local casinos opposed the measures for good five years, but in the end, managed to pass the legislation.
The Industry Has Its Qualms
In the first year of the law operating, casinos were able to collect $500,000 in delinquent payments, the media wrote citing Cliffe – a staggering amount demonstrating the measure’s efficiency. In Nevada the idea is not entirely off the table, the Nevada Resort Association has acknowledged that such a matter could help solve a societal problem.
One of those issues is the fact that Nevada has a vast network of casinos that is not met by most other states. Therefore, the creation of a viable IT system that works and protects privacy is difficult to arrange said NRA President and CEO Virginia Valentine cited by LVRJ. Another potential issue is on whom the onus of ensuring compliance would lie.
Some of these jackpots – if not most – are shared between numerous properties, brands, and companies. When this happens, who has to make sure that the system is updated asks some observers. This problem, though, seems less difficult as it would probably be the property that feels out the SSN and other required state data.
Some have argued that they are afraid that if child support is tied to jackpots, that would translate into fewer people playing. This argument strikes as bizarre again as it openly acknowledges that casinos do not want to obligate such people to pay for what they owe, but are happy to take their money and add them to their bottom lines in the first place.