Aug 29, 2013 12:16 PM by MELISSA CANONE
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has collected more than $1.2 million from gamblers who owe back child support in the two years since the agency launched its Casino Intercept Program.
DCFS has collected $1,294,455.88 in child support arrears from 969 non-custodial parents following the pilot launch in September 2011 at Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge.
"DCFS officially hit the $1 million collection mark in March of this year," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Reaching this amount in less than two years shows that the casino intercept program is an essential tool to ensure that non-custodial parents who owe child support meet their obligations of providing financial, medical and emotional support to their children."
Currently, all 19 state-licensed casinos in Louisiana participate in the casino intercept program. Margaritaville in Shreveport joined the program in June and has collected $5,373.88 from five non-custodial parents. To date, Hollywood Casino has intercepted the most money of Louisiana's casinos - $147,831.68. The largest single collection to date came from the Amelia Belle in December 2012 in the amount of $23,298.42.
CASINO NAME / TOTAL COLLECTIONS
Amelia Belle $62,053.54
Belle of Baton Rouge $69,395.05
Boomtown Belle $105,756.28
Boomtown Bossier $43,033.16
Delta Downs $35,594.04
Diamond Jacks $57,879.00
Evangeline Downs $110,162.03
Fair Grounds Race Course $39,919.67
Harrah's New Orleans $105,140.54
Hollywood Casino $147,831.68
L'Auberge du Baton Rouge $53,019.02
L'Auberge du Lac $66,156.12
Louisiana Downs $37,153.48
Margaritaville Casino $5,373.88
Sam's Town $74,257.84
Isle of Capri $69,681.44
Treasure Chest $78,842.71
Former Senator Nick Gautreaux introduced the legislation in the 2010 session to collect owed child support from winnings of more than $1,200 at Louisiana casinos. Other states with similar laws include Mississippi, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, Colorado and West Virginia.
"With more than 1.3 billion owed by non-custodial parents, DCFS will continue to use every avenue and tool available to ensure that Louisiana's children are being provided for by their parents," said Sonnier.
Failure to pay court-ordered child support can result in liens against the non-payor's property, seizure of assets, suspension of driver's, business, professional, hunting or fishing licenses, interception of state and federal tax returns, passport denial and contempt of court charges, among other enforcement actions.
DCFS Child Support Enforcement offers custodial parents several resources, including parent locator services, paternity establishment, establishment of child support orders, enforcement of orders and collection and distribution of child support.
Any parent or person responsible for a child can receive services from DCFS' Child Support Enforcement program. Those currently in the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KSCP) or who receive Medicaid automatically receive child support enforcement services. For more information or to apply for child support enforcement services, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/CSE. Search the database for Louisiana delinquent child support payors at www.dcfs.la.gov/delinquent.