Illinois Gov Approves Law Authorizing Gambling Venues to Garnish Unpaid Child Support

Last Monday, Illinois Governor Quinn signed the amendment to House Bill 2843; a measure aimed at diminishing the state’s record of almost $3 million in unpaid child support. The amendment gives authority to racetracks and casino operators to garnish or withhold in full or in part, unpaid child support payments, from the winnings of errant patrons.

The amount withheld shall be based on the amount of past due child support certified by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Thereafter the monies withheld for such purpose shall be paid to the DHFS, who will in turn distribute the payment to the parent child custodian.

Licensed gambling operators shall act as authorized organization licensee or advance deposit-wagering licensee, entitled to collect administrative fees of four percent (4%) of the winnings paid to the patron or $150, whichever is lesser. Still, the past due child support garnished plus the administration fee collected by the withholding agent shall not exceed in any way, the total amount due to the winner.

The Board of the authorized organization licensee or advance deposit-wagering licensee shall designate an employee as authorized representative, who will notify the casino or racetrack patron about the past due child support payments about to be deducted from his or her winnings. Such notification must take place during the time of garnishment.

Moreover, amounts of past due child support owed by the casino or racetrack patron shall have priority over all other claims on the winnings, whether secured or unsecured; except for federal or state taxes required to be withheld under federal or state law.