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2 million in jackpot winnings Deadbeat parents who hit the jackpot at casinos and racinos in the state now have to forfeit all or part of their winnings if they owe back child support.Since the new law took effect in September, the state has collected more than $2 million in unpaid child support, and almost $60,000 of that went to Butler County children and $47,483 to Warren County families, where one of the state's seven racinos resides. The jackpot winnings benefited 1,657 overdue child support cases statewide, 59 cases in Butler County and 44 cases in Warren County.
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Ray Pater, the executive director of JFS and the Child Support Enforcement Agency in Butler County, said there is a "real time" database set up with the racinos and four casinos that allows workers to flag deadbeat parents."If you win at one of the casinos or racinos there is an interface with the child support system and we automatically intercept it," he said. "So someone might be very excited for a few minutes, and then 'oh you owe child support' and it goes up to Ohio child support payments."The winnings are garnished when they reach the federal Internal Revenue Service threshold amounts, which are $1,200 from bingo and slots, $1,500 for Keno and $5,000 from poker games. Benjamin Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said the gambling dens already have to have winners fill out this paperwork for taxes."What we didn't want to do was create a completely separate process for the casino workers to have to manage," he said. "So we piggybacked on the existing IRS process.
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"Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell, whose office is responsible for prosecuting felony non support cases said this is a great tool."I think it was a great idea. If you've got people that have the money to gamble, which they probably don't, if they are owing on their child support, it at least gives us the ability when they hit a big payout to try and collect some of that money," he said. "It really in the first instance shouldn't be being spent at the casino anyway, it should be going to their kids."Butler County has ranked first in the state for top metro counties in overall performance for the past dozen or so years. Judge Noah Powers, who presides over the specialty felony non support court, said deadbeat parents shouldn't be gambling in the first place, but if they are, at least there is a consequence.
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"I hope they're not out there gambling their child support away," he said. "But if they win I guess we all win because we're not having to support their children."