Pennsylvania Legislation to Prohibit Use of Credit Cards for iGaming

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Pennsylvania State Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny County) announces his plans to introduce legislation that would ban the use of credit cards for online gaming. The legislation would include online casino games, sports betting, fantasy games, and the Pennsylvania iLottery. 

Lawmaker Effort to Protect Players

Online gaming and sports betting are growing exponentially, especially among young adults. At the same time, credit card debt is climbing. So we need to make sure the greater access to gambling isn’t “leading to burdensome or crippling credit card balances,” Fontana was quoted as saying in a WHTM report.

The average Pennsylvanian has an average credit card balance of $5,600, says Fontana. There is great potential to acquire large amounts of debt when using a credit card for online gambling. When you include the interest fees that credit card companies pile on, you could quickly find yourself in real financial trouble. 

This new Pennsylvania legislation looks to highlight the inherent financial risk that comes with online gaming by eliminating the use of credit cards. 

“Gambling and credit card debt often go hand in hand since this disorder can lead to financial problems that affect one’s ability to pay off debt,” Fontana said. “Therefore, I will be introducing legislation that would prohibit the use of credit cards for iLottery, online casino games, and sports betting and fantasy sports. With the average Pennsylvanian having a credit card balance that exceeds $5,640, online gaming should not be another scenario to accumulate more debt.”

Fontana’s efforts are not meant to eliminate online gaming, but he believes serious measures need to be taken to prevent players from falling into consequential debt.

National Problem Gambling Awareness Month

On the subject of protecting players and making online gaming a safer experience, March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing gambling-related harm, know there are resources available to help. Council on Compulsive Gambling Pennsylvania (CCGP) is available via phone call, text, or chat. 

Some warning signs to look out for include strained relationships, borrowing money, missing work, school, or prior engagements to gamble.

The Lottery says playing responsibly means:

– Setting a budget and playing only within your financial means.

– Understanding the chances of winning and not chasing losses.

– Not letting play interfere with work or family obligations.

– Taking a break or stop playing entirely if playing stops being fun.

– Understanding that Lottery games are not suitable for children. Whether buying a ticket for yourself or as a gift, Pennsylvania Lottery players must be 18 or older. Tickets are not toys.

Pennsylvania is Not the Only Place Taking These Measures

If the bill is signed into law, Pennsylvania would not be alone in banning credit cards. Iowa, Tennessee, and Massachusetts all have legislation that restricts the use of credit cards for online gaming. 

Traveling outside the United States borders, the Australian Federal Parliament also passed legislation that prohibited the use of credit cards in online gaming. This was largely supported by Responsible Wagering Australia and its members.  

A Look Into Pennsylvania’s Growing Gaming Revenue

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board shows that just last year the state reached a record-setting $5.7 billion in gaming revenue. Additionally, the tax revenue for that year reached another record of $2.34 billion. 

This total amounts to a $1.74 increase from the year prior. These numbers are encompassed by an overall 28% increase in the state’s iGaming revenue. 

The news of this new legislation comes at the industry’s peak.