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Iowa to take debts owed from winnings

6 June 2008

EMMETSBURG, Iowa -- As reported by the Des Moines Register: "Winning a big cash jackpot at an Iowa casino or hitting the daily double at a racetrack will soon mean going home empty-handed for some gamblers who haven't paid their bills.

"Under a new state law, Iowa's gambling businesses will be required to run government database checks on the names of all players winning $10,000 or more on a slot machine or on a wager at a horse or dog race, said Jack Ketterer, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Advertisement

"Cash will be deducted - up to the entire sum of the jackpot - if gamblers owe money for income taxes, child support, outstanding court debts and certain other payments, said Jennifer Acton, an analyst with the Iowa Legislative Services Agency.

"Debts owed to cities - such as past-due water bills - can also be collected.

"...The new law, signed in May by Gov. Chet Culver, takes effect July 1, although state officials said the debt-collection network won't be operational until about Aug. 1. State regulators discussed implementation of the program during their monthly meeting Thursday at the Wild Rose Casino.

"Iowa appears to be the first state in the nation to establish such a wide-ranging government debt-collection initiative at its casinos, said Brian Lehman, a spokesman for the American Gaming Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group for commercial casinos..."

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