March 11, 2024 3 min read


Pennsylvania Could Ban Credit Cards for Online Gaming

Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana wants to see a credit card ban on online gambling and sports betting in the state

On March 8, Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana representing D-Allegheny County announced his intention to introduce a bill that would forbid the use of credit cards for online gambling and sports betting.

The prohibition that is soon to be expressed in his upcoming bill would also include the state’s iLottery.  

Gambling and Credit Card Debt Often Go Hand in Hand

In the co-sponsorship memo sent to his colleagues last week, Sen. Fontana expressed his view that gambling and credit card debt “often go hand in hand.” He used the argument that “gambling addiction” or “gambling disorder” is oftentimes connected to financial debt

Sen. Fontana called gambling addiction a type of behavior that turns into a problem once someone develops “strained relationships with loved ones, borrows money to gamble,” or engages in gambling to experience a high while potentially skipping school or missing work and other obligations just for the sake of gambling. 

The disorder, believes the Senator, can create financial problems with the potential of affecting one’s ability to pay off their debt. 

This is why he decided to introduce fresh legislation that would specifically crackdown on the use of credit cards for online gambling, iLottery, and betting on sports and fantasy sports

The memo also included information regarding the credit card balance of average Pennsylvanians which frequently goes over the $5,640 mark, which is why online gaming should not be allowed to become “another scenario to accumulate more debt.”

The senator also used the example of other US states that have already imposed a ban on the use of credit cards for online gambling to ask for support for his consumer protection bill

The list includes Massachusetts, Iowa, and Tennessee

National Problem Gambling Awareness Month

The Senator also took advantage of March being National Problem Gambling Awareness Month to express his concerns over the fact that Pennsylvanians’ credit card balances are 12% higher compared to pre-pandemic numbers, as per recent data issued by the Independent Fiscal Office.

Moreover, Sen. Fontana added that more than 36% of online gamers in the state reported dealing with at least one gambling problem as per the 2022 Online Gaming Report issued by Pennsylvania State University together with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Gaming Control Board.

The representative also explained, in the context of credit card debt constantly going up similar to sports wagering and online gambling, officials must “make sure the greater access to gambling isn’t leading to burdensome or crippling credit card balances.”

In 2023, the Keystone State reached a record high in gaming revenue at close to $5.7 billion, mostly generated by sports betting, online gaming, and fantasy sports betting. 

In other news, House Bill 2075 which proposes the regulation of skill games within the state has gained a lot of traction recently. 

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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