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New Jersey among states with child support laws for casinos

Gamblers in New Jersey may be surprised to find out that when they win big at a casino, they may not be walking away with all of their expected winnings. Due to "casino interception" laws, if gamblers owe any past due child support then the casino may have to withhold the amount they owe from their winnings.

Recently, a story in another state which also has a casino interception law reported that over $806,000 was withheld from gamblers' winnings last year. In that state, if gamblers win over $1,200 the casinos must run a name search in a database to determine whether or not those gamblers owe child support. If their names come up, the casino must remit the amount owed to the state.

The law in New Jersey requires any slot system operator awarding an annuity jackpot -- which is a slot machine jackpot owed to the winner in fixed cash payments over a period of time -- to report the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of the winners to the approperiate state agency to determine if any child support is owed.

If it is determined that child support is owed by the winner, the slot system operator must withhold the arrears from the winner's payment and transmit the funds to the state. Any remaining funds are then paid out to the winner.

Child support can be collected in other ways as well. If parents fail to make their required payments, some states can require that the payments be taken out of their wages. Also, parents owing child support may have their property seized or their tax refunds intercepted. If a court goes so far as to hold a parent "in contempt" of a child support order, the parent may have to spend time in jail.

It is important to note, however, that a court order must be in place before any child support enforcement or collection action can be legally taken. An experienced family law attorney can assist parents who are looking to obtain an order, as well as those who have an order issued against them.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "La. casinos seize $800,000 for owed child support," March 10, 2013

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