State considering proposal to capture winnings at state-owned casinos if the winner owes back child support

Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora

? Deadbeat parents who hit the jackpot at a state-owned casino would see their winnings go to pay child support, under a bill heard Monday.

House Bill 2651 by Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, was well-received by members of the House Judiciary Committee.

But managers of the state-owned casino in Dodge City asked for time to work on what they said were problems with the bill.

“We support the intent of the legislation,” said Clint Patty, an attorney representing Butler National Service Corp. “We are not opposed to assisting in the collection of back child support,” he said.

The committee agreed to study the bill more before acting on it.

Under Brown’s measure, a state-owned casino, or pari-mutuel racetrack would have to run the names of jackpot winners of $1,200 or more through a child support debtor registry. If a person owed back child support then when they tried to cash out, the winnings would have to be offset to pay the child support.

But Chris Reedy, vice president of Butler National, said a gambler could bypass the proposal.

For example, if a person wins $1,800 at a slot machine, he or she receives tickets from the machine that can be cashed in at several different automated kiosks to avoid triggering the $1,200 rule.

And Reedy questioned how the measure would be enforced at table games where gamblers’ winnings are going up and down.

Brown said he sees his proposal as just another way to help collect court-ordered child support, such as when the Legislature passed a law that prevents delinquent child support debtors from obtaining a state hunting or fishing license.

“We have made some progress, but we still lag behind the national average,” in child support collection, he said.

Colorado has recently implemented a similar law and committee members said they wanted to look at that statute.