PA Senator To Introduce Bill Prohibiting Credit Card Use For Online Gambling

Written By Corey Sharp on March 8, 2024
Image showing a bettor using a credit card to wager on an online gaming app for a story about a PA Senator looking to introduce a new bill that would ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.

Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana is planning to initiate a bill that would ban the use of credit cards for online gambling. The accumulation of credit card debt because of online gambling can be dangerous, especially for those experiencing problem gambling behaviors.

Operators in Pennsylvania, including PA online casinos, accept credit cards from bettors in order to deposit money into their accounts. There are three states that have already prohibited the use of credit cards as a means of gambling.

Pennsylvania Senator sends memo, seeking co-sponsorship for credit card ban

Fontana has not formally brought a bill to the table. However, he’s getting the ball rolling by sending out a memo to all Senate members.

He mentioned that the expansion of gaming has led to “greater access to gambling,” which increases the odds of someone developing a gambling problem. Pennsylvania currently offers 21 online casinos and 13 sports betting operators.

Fontana cited that 36% of people who have participated in online gaming have reported a gambling problem, according to the 2022 Online Gaming Report. In the memo, Fontana talked about the risk of credit card use for online gambling. He said:

“Gambling and credit card debt often go hand in hand since this disorder can lead to financial problems that affect one’s ability to pay off debt. Therefore, I will be introducing legislation that would prohibit the use of credit cards for iLottery, online casino games, and sports betting and fantasy sports. With the average Pennsylvanian having a credit card balance that exceeds $5,640, online gaming should not be another scenario to accumulate more debt.”

Fontana included the states that have already banned credit card use, which are Iowa, Tennessee and Massachusetts. Before the legislation gets introduced, Fontana is looking for additional co-sponsoring for this “consumer-protection bill.”

Potential credit card bill aligns with responsible gambling messaging

As Fontana’s message addresses consumer protection, it fits perfectly with March being National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. As this bill would focus on responsible gambling in Pennsylvania, Fontana laid out the risks of problem gambling behaviors.

“Often called a ‘gambling addiction’ or ‘gambling disorder,’ this behavior becomes a problem when an individual develops a strained relationship with loved ones, borrows money to gamble, gambles to experience a high or feeling, and misses work, school, or other activities and obligations in order to gamble,” he said.

Eliminating an additional way people can accumulate debt is certainly preventing a behavior tied to problem gambling.

The following organizations are actually hosting two public gatherings this month to raise awareness for problem gambling:

  • Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB)
  • Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP)
  • Council on Compulsive Gambling of PA (CCGP)
  • Pennsylvania Lottery

PGCB Director for the Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling, Liz Lanza, explained to PlayPennsylvania last week the importance of protecting and briefing those who gamble:

“It is imperative to inform the public that a gambling disorder is a preventable and treatable disease, and resources are available throughout our Commonwealth. From problem gambling prevention tools to recovery programs, there are systems in place that protect and assist the citizens of PA in their time of need.”

While gambling is a large industry, lawmakers and regulators are on the same team when it comes to protecting consumers.

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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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