Proposal helps chase down deadbeat parents for child support

By Denise Jackson

March 26, 2013 Updated Mar 26, 2013 at 6:43 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Deadbeat parents who refuse to pay child support could have a difficult time collecting their winnings at casinos and at race tracks. A new proposal would give social service agencies more ammunition to help families.

Take home cash winnings inside places like the Par-A-Dice Casino and race tracks may not ever reach the hands of lucky contenders if they're delinquent or refuse to pay child support under a bill by Peoria area State Senator Darin LaHood.

"Deadbeat parents that don't pay child support it effects all taxpayers in the state of Illinois. Because many times those children that don't get their child support they end up on public assistance sometimes or in need of further resources in our state system," said Peoria area State Senator Darin LaHood

LaHood said deadbeat parents in Illinois owe more than $3 billion in child support payments. His bill calls for creation of a website registry and gamblers who win $1200 or more at casinos would have to fill out a tax form with a social security number that would be checked against the registry before they could collect winnings. The Illinois Department of Health and family services has similar enforcements where they intercept tax returns for parents who are delinquent on child support payments.

"We don't want to take their gambling winnings but when they are able but unwilling to pay child support, debtors don't pay what their children are due then these type of enforcement measures are used," said Barbara McDermott of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Unlike a previous bill that was defeated two years ago LaHood said Senate Bill 1820 gained support from the gaming industry after concerns about enforcement were addressed. It was unanimously approved out of committee recently and LaHood expects the full Senate to vote on the proposal after Easter and the House to follow. If approved in both chambers he says it could be in place by mid summer.