Legislative Push to Ban Use of Credit Cards for Online Gambling in Pennsylvania

Wayne Fontana, a Pennsylvania State Senator, intends to present a bill that would forbid the utilization of credit cards for online casino play, fantasy sports, iLottery and for online sports gambling. The main goal of this legislative push is to change the current rules that permit Pennsylvania residents to utilize credit cards to finance the aforementioned types of digital gambling. In addition, this step represents a prudent stance against the possible worsening of financial struggles because of the gambling activities.

The legislation:

The bill aims to change existing regulations enacted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that currently permit the utilization of credit cards to deposit money into fantasy sports, online sports wagering, iLottery and iGaming accounts, as mentioned above.

A significant statistic came from the Online Gambling Report from 2022, which showed that more than a third of online players in the Keystone State have gone through a minimum of 1 gambling-related problem. Additionally, the concern depend on the associated risk of developing a gambling disorder and the ease of access.

Relatedly, Pennsylvania expanded its gaming horizons during 2017 with the official legalization of fantasy sports, sports wagering and iGaming, together with the establishment of gaming service kagame s at truck stops and mini-casinos. In that regard, Fontana, pointing to the rising credit card debt occurring among state residents, which average amount is more than $5,600, blames rampant online gambling, which lures high interest rates on the balances of credit cards, in addition to inflation.

More and more states are becoming aware of the situation:

However, the state’s gaming industry, by all accounts a huge entity, ranked in the top 3 in the entire nation, behind just New Jersey and Nevada. An astonishing almost $5.7bln in gross gaming income (GGR) was recorded in 2023, with sports wagering and online gaming as notable contributors, achieving fresh heights in recorded player losses, according to the West Island Blog.

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As action at the state level becomes more and more needed to reduce the negative financial disadvantages of online gambling, lawmakers in the almost forty states that have officially legalized sports wagering are becoming aware of the aforementioned situation with credit cards. In this regard, some of them, involving Massachusetts, Tennessee and Iowa, have already introduced bans on the utilization of credit cards for sports wagering.

The rise in credit card debt isn’t just happening in PA, it’s a growing trend seen on a national level. Proof of that is the documents of the Federal Reserve, which show a jump to $1.13 trillion in outstanding debt at year’s end.

Hovering between financial ruin and the potential for excitement, online gambling stays a sword with 2 edges, showing that everything should have a balance.