Lawmaker in PA to introduce bill that prohibits credit card use for gambling

Pennsylvania Credit Card
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A lawmaker in Pennsylvania is planning to introduce legislation that bans the use of credit cards to fund sports betting, daily fantasy contests, iLottery and online casino activities.

Sen. Wayne D. Fontana has sent a memorandum to all members of the Pennsylvania Senate to give notice of a pending measure that will aim to prohibit the use of credit cards for gamblers in the state. Fontana’s consumer protection bill is being introduced to curtail problem gambling as online gaming and sports wagering continue to grow in the state.

According to Penn State’s 2022 Online Gaming Report, more than 36% of online gaming participants in the Keystone State reported at least one gambling problem. The report was conducted in partnership with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Another factor in Fontana’s decision to a propose new bill is the average credit card balance for Pennsylvania residents being over $5,640.

Pennsylvania Senators have been notified of Fontana’s intention to introduce a new measure during National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. The month serves as a period to increase awareness of gambling-related harm while offering helpful resources.

The Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania has issued “10 Rules of Responsible Gambling,” while offering access to counselors and self-help meetings. The Pennsylvania Lottery and the state’s Gaming Control Board are also offering additional resources.

Pennsylvania could join other jurisdictions

The Keystone State would join Iowa, Tennessee and Massachusetts as states that have prohibited the use of credit cards to fund gaming activities.

In 2020, the Iowa legislature voted to ban the use of credit cards on sports betting after the state had previously prohibited credit cards from being used to purchase lottery tickets.

“If you want you lose your paycheck, that’s fine. I don’t know how long you get away with that from your family, but with a credit card, you can run a debt that can’t possibly be paid,” Sen. Tony Bisignano told Radio Iowa following the state’s decision.

Since the ruling, Iowa gaming regulators have handed out more than $200,000 in fines to operators across the state for failing to comply with its gaming-related credit card laws.

Tennessee has banned credit cards from the onset of gaming as well as Massachusetts, which went live with online sports wagering in March 2023. Massachusetts has since seen operators, including Boston-based DraftKings, fail to comply with the state’s gaming rules.

Last year, 218 DraftKings users in the state used credit cards to fund $83,663 in wagers.