Pennsylvania Senator Seeks Backing on Bill to Ban Credit at Online Casinos, Sportsbooks, Lottery

Senator Wayne Fontana wants to ban Pennsylvania’s legal online casinos and sportsbooks from accepting credit card payments, and he’s going to sponsor a bill to stop it.

Sen. Fontana (D-Allegheny County) shared his intention in a memo sent to his Senate colleagues last week seeking a cosponsor for the upcoming legislation.

The memo highlighted the importance of protecting those who gamble at Pennsylvania’s online casinos and sportsbooks.

Over 36% of online gaming participants in the commonwealth reported at least one gambling problem according to the 2022 Online Gaming Report produced by Pennsylvania State University in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs as well as the state’s Gaming Control Board.

Limiting credit card debt by blocking gambling-related charges is one way the state can help, Fontana argued:

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. 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 Urges Colleagues to Back Bill

Notably, last year, Pennsylvania reported record-high gaming revenues of nearly $5.7 billion, primarily fueled by online casinos, sportsbooks, and iLottery.

Currently, Pennsylvanians who opt to gamble online have several ways to deposit into their online gambling wallets.

In addition to the credit companies like Visa and Mastercard on Fontana’s chopping block, Pennsylvania players can deposit using:

  • Debit cards
  • Paypal, Skrill
  • E-checks/ACH
  • Branded payment cards (Play+)
  • Pay Near Me (cash option)

Without seeing the text of the upcoming bill, it’s unlikely any other payment methods are at risk.

In addition to his bill, Sen. Fontana’s memo recognized March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM).

Gambling, he said, becomes a problem when it strains relationships, exacerbates debt, or impedes an individual’s obligations and activities. Fortuna also reminded his colleagues that neither Iowa, Tennessee, nor Massachusetts allow credit cards to fund online gambling.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this consumer protection bill.

He shared more in a release that appeared on the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats site on March 8.

Online gaming and sports betting is growing exponentially, especially with 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.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil (she/they) is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor, and a lead writer at Bonus. Here she focuses on news relevant to online casinos, while specializing in responsible gambling coverage, legislative developments, gambling regulations, and industry-related legal fights.
Back To Top

Get connected with us on Social Media