Pennsylvania Bill Introduced to Ban Credit Cards for Gambling

A bill to ban the use of credit cards for funding online gambling activities might be implemented soon in the state of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Wayne Fontana announced in March his intention to fill out the bill, and he stated his intent to push for a bill of this kind because, in a market that is currently booming, there is a likelihood of an increase in gambling addiction; hence, the ease that comes with credit cards will lead to bettors endangering themselves in credit card debt.

“Since the expansion of online gaming and sports wagering in Pennsylvania nearly seven years ago, there is greater access to gambling which in turn increases the number of individuals who may develop a gambling disorder. At the same time, gambling and credit card debt often go hand in hand. The ease and convenience of being able to gamble from the comforts of your home any time or day can create the perfect storm,” Fontana said.

Additionally, Fontana disclosed state data on credit card usage, showing that Pennsylvanians often have credit card balances greater than $5,640. As such, the senator argues that gambling shouldn’t make patrons more likely to take on more debt.

More: Pennsylvania Sports Betting | Legal Sports Betting States | US Sports Betting Revenue Tracker

PA Senate Bill 1159 Is Already in Motion

Introduced last week, Senate Bill 1159 seeks to address a number of problems pertaining to gambling-related harm in the state. This comprehensive legislation covers a variety of online gambling activities, such as sports betting, daily fantasy sports, digital lotteries, and online casinos. Its goal is to enact laws and safety measures that lessen the harmful effects of these kinds of gambling while guaranteeing consumer protection and encouraging responsible gaming.

The bill reads:

  • “No licensed operator may accept a credit card as a form of payment to fund a fantasy contest account”
  • “The (Lottery) department may not accept a credit card as a form of payment for the purchase of iLottery games”
  • “An interactive gaming certificate holder may not accept a credit card as a form of payment for deposit or wager”
  • “A sports wagering certificate holder may not accept a credit card as a form of payment for sports wagering”

A Senate committee has been assigned Fontana’s proposed legislation, and he is hopeful that it can make headway during this session. Fontana hopes to pass both chambers quickly, but Pennsylvania’s session doesn’t complete until late November, giving the General Assembly around six months to pass the legislation.

Even still, Fontana admits that convincing other lawmakers to back the idea is still necessary. If it fails in 2024, Fontana says he will not give up on his legislative efforts, indicating that he is determined to keep pushing for the bills.

“I think it’s gonna take a little time for my colleagues to realize this is a good consumer protection bill, and hopefully they’ll run the legislation,” Fontana said.

“If it doesn’t pass this session, I’ll reintroduce it.” 

PA Bill Faces Opposition Party

Fontana’s bill presents a challenge for operators as it proposes to discontinue credit card transactions, potentially leading to a decrease in player deposits, which is a concern from their standpoint. Fontana, however, countered this argument by asserting that gaming operators have the financial capacity to withstand the potential loss of revenue.

The Keystone State market is undoubtedly doing very well, as its recent gaming financial report in March saw handles get up to $800 million, which signified huge growth from the preceding month, which garnered $661.7 million.

Should this feat come to an end, the Keystone State will join states such as:

  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Tennessee

The United Kingdom also prohibits the use of credit cards for funding gambling accounts, with the ban coming into effect in 2020.


About the Author
Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe is a seasoned gambling writer with more than four years of experience. Armed with a Masters degree in philosophy, Egbe possesses a unique ability to dissect complex industry developments, distilling them into insightful narratives that captivate readers.

Get connected with us on Social Media