The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced this past week that, in conjunction with the state’s Department of Revenue (DOR), it helped intercept $3,601,569.28 in winnings for unpaid child support and taxes in fiscal year 2022.
Bruce Brand, the deputy director of the MGC’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, broke the news early in an MGC meeting. He noted that the intercepted amount this year was around $200,000 more than it was in fiscal year 2021.
When MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein asked if anyone on the commission had any questions for Brand, commissioner Bradford Hill offered his congratulations.
“No questions, Madame Chair,” he said. “Just a big congratulations and great job.
Massachusetts casino winnings are intercepted for past-due child support
State law allows the Department of Revenue to capture winnings from gamblers with past-due child support or tax bills.
The DOR, MGC gaming agents, and Massachusetts casinos work together to enforce this law. They do so by running a verification process on anyone who wins:
- At least $1,200 from a slot machine
- A table-game jackpot of at least $5,000 that is subject to federal income tax
- Cash prizes of at least $1,200
- Non-cash prizes with a fair market value of at least $1,200
In practice, the casino will ask the winner of any of the above prizes to provide a valid photo ID and a Social Security number or tax identification number.
Then, it will send that information to the DOR. If the DOR tells the casino that the winner owes child support or taxes, the casino sends up to the full amount of the winnings to the DOR.
If the winner has child support and tax debt, the DOR will apply the winnings to the child support first.
From there, the casino provides the winner with a statement that shows how much the DOR intercepted. The winner will also get a letter from the DOR that explains what happened.
If the winner believes the DOR intercepted the winnings in error, they can contact the DOR’s Child Support Enforcement Division at 800-332-2733 within 14 days. If the DOR used the money to pay a tax bill, the winner can call the DOR at 617-887-6367.
An example of how casino winnings are intercepted
So, say a gambler wins a $25,000 jackpot at MGM Springfield. The casino would ask the winner for their ID and Social Security number. It then runs that info through the DOR.
If the winner has a clean record with the DOR, they get their winnings. However, the DOR would intercept the winnings if they have $15,000 in unpaid child support and $15,000 in unpaid taxes.
It would apply the first part of the winnings to pay off the child support, then use the remaining amount to pay down the tax bill. The casino then provides a letter and a statement to the winner explaining what happened and why.