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Iowa Using Gambling Winnings To Make Back Child Support Payments

Often times when people fall behind on their child support payments, there can be links as to why the parent stopped paying. In some cases, the parent has spent their child support money gambling, in places such as casinos and race tracks. Dozens of states are now smartening up to this activity, and they are taking steps to prevent gamblers who owe money to collect winnings.

In Iowa, the state has started a program where they run casino jackpot winners through a database before paying the jackpot. If the winner comes up owing any back taxes, court debts, or child support, the winning money is seized and used to cover the pre-existing debts. It is a system that has become popular across the US in recent years as the gaming industry has grown.

"If someone claims they don't have the money to pay their taxes or pay child support, then there is no reason that same person should have extra cash laying around to gamble," said Yvette Wilson, an Iowa resident that is pleased the state is taking action. "There are children who are having a tough time because these people are not paying, so when a jackpot is won, that money should go to the back payments. It makes total sense."

Gamblers can get away with hitting for small amounts of money at the casinos, as casinos need only check the database on jackpots totaling over $1,200. The system is not only used at the tracks and casinos in Iowa, but also for the lottery. Any person who wins a lottery draw worth more than $1,200 is subject to the same database check as those who win in casinos.

"This is a good system that makes sense," said Olivia Brussard. "I have friends who have spouses that owe thousands of dollars in back child support, and I know my friends struggle to pay the bills for their children. So it would be unfair if the person responsible for those struggles were allowed to win large amounts of money and nothing goes to the child support. This is a fantastic law."

In just two years of operating the law, Iowa has collected over $5 million in back payments or unpaid debts. Nearly 4,000 gamblers have had some portion of their gambling winnings seized during that time period, and state officials claim they plan on enforcing the regulations for the foreseeable future.

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