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Gambling Bill Would Withhold Winnings if Child Support Owed

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ABC News: Deadbeat parents who hit a big casino jackpot may have to give the cash to their kids if a proposed bill becomes law in Indiana.

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The legislation, which a Senate committee considered Wednesday, would withhold gambling winnings from parents who are behind on their child support payments. Supporters, including Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, said the idea makes sense in a state where just 58 percent of child support payments are collected.

More than 165,000 noncustodial parents each owe more $2,000 in back child support, which adds up to more than $2 billion in delinquencies, according to the state Department of Child Services, which is pushing the legislation.

"We do not believe that a parent who's having difficulty paying child support should be out gambling," said Stuart Showalter, with Indiana Shared Parenting, a group that advocates for equal joint custody.

But Indiana casinos don't like the bill. The Casino Association of Indiana worries the legislation would cause a two-minute delay on casino floors while names of winners are checked against an electronic list of people owing child support.

Two minutes doesn't seem like much time in most situations, association president Mike Smith said, but casinos are fast-paced environments.

"People hit a jackpot -- they want to be paid," Smith said. "You're going to have angry people."

Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, said the state created the gambling industry and casinos need to play by its rules. The state is simply asking for the same help in collecting child support that banks, insurance companies and other industries provide, he said.

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I'm not too sympathetic," he told Smith.

C

asinos already must generate tax forms for people who win more than $1,200 on slot machines and more than $600 from certain types of other gambling. Proposal supporters say it seems reasonable to check for deadbeat parents among those winners.

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