Credit card issuers have to decide if cards may be used in sports betting

Credit card issuers have to decide if cards may be used in sports betting

May 21, 2018 10:08 AM


The largest U.S. credit card issuers, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and American Express Co., have yet to formulate a policy delineating if and when their cards may be allowed for use in sports gambling.

“We will closely watch developments from the ruling and will consider any implications to our policy as the states put their own processes in place,” Mary Jane Rogers, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan, said in an emailed statement to the website

Credit card companies remain concerned that allowing cardholders to fund their gambling with a credit card could create problems for lenders, which may be left on the hook if a borrower can’t repay.

Processors such as Worldpay Inc. as well as payment networks including Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. say they’re informing banks about how to modify policies to take advantage of legalized sports wagering nationwide.

Joe Pappano, senior vice president at Worldpay, said “We are working with the card schemes (Visa and Mastercard) on really putting together a SWAT team and really working with the issuing banks,” said, “Issuers have to modify their real-time decisioning tool, they have to update policies, they have to feel confident that the compliance and the framework and those consumer protections exist.”

Visa and Mastercard, according to, began making changes several years ago to their so-called merchant classification codes for gambling companies. Licensed online casinos, horseracing venues and government-owned lotteries were all given separate codes, which help lenders track risk and detect fraud. Banks could use those codes to limit the amount of money spent on such activities. Thus, even if a consumer had a $25,000 credit limit on their card, a bank could restrict spending to $2,000 on merchants classified as gambling related.

Pappano added, “The market size will cause issuers to go back and rethink their acceptance strategy knowing that they are not going to want to be left on the sideline. The issuers now have an opportunity that they’ve never had before.”