Millions in unpaid child support intercepted from gambling winnings

TY GREENLEES /STAFF

caption arrowCaption
TY GREENLEES /STAFF

More than $10 million in unpaid child support has been intercepted from lottery, racino and casino winners by the state since 2014.

“This is a good example of government and industry working together toward a common goal,” said Kimberly Hall, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director. “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.”

State law grants child support agencies the right to intercept jackpot and prize winnings from noncustodial parents who owe past due support. Between 2014 and March 31, 6,353 jackpots have been intercepted, according to ODJFS that released the data Friday.

MORE: Ohio takes first steps to legalize sports betting

Last year, nearly $2.3 million was intercepted statewide. Since 2014, $737,573 has been collected for child support owed in Montgomery County.

ODJFS in partnership with the Ohio Lottery Commission, the Ohio Casino Control Commission and Ohio’s casinos and racinos established an automated interface in 2014 to crosscheck gambling winners with a database on noncustodial parents with outstanding support obligations. If a winner owes child support, the gambling establishment or the Ohio Lottery Commission withholds all or part of the winnings.

Even though Ohio collects 69.6% of all support owed — higher than the national average of 65.8% — getting money to children remains a challenge. More than $4.9 billion in unpaid support — some dating back to 1976 — remains on county enforcement agency books.

Most of the debt — nearly 70% — is owed by parents who make less than $10,000 a year, child support enforcement officials say.

RELATED: Child support overhaul targets ‘best interests of the children’

Last month, the first major changes since 1992 took effect in Ohio’s child support system.

The law now better reflects the economic times and acknowledges the support that noncustodial parents bring to child rearing, officials said.

Montgomery County had nearly 44,901 active child support cases during the 2018 fiscal year. Greene County had 8,543, Miami County 7,556 and Warren County 11,820.

About the Author