Concerns over climbing credit card debt

Pennsylvania senator proposes bill to ban credit cards in online gaming

Reading time 1:14 min

State Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny County) has announced his plans to introduce a Pennsylvania Senate bill aiming to ban the use of credit cards in sports betting, online casino games, fantasy games, and the Pennsylvania iLottery.

“Online gaming and sports betting are 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,” Fontana was quoted as saying in a WHTM report.

Highlighting the concern over rising debt levels, Senator Fontana emphasizes that the average Pennsylvanian carries over $5,640 in credit card debt. Citing March as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, the legislation seeks to address potential financial risks associated with online gaming by restricting the use of credit cards in these transactions.

State Senator Wayne Fontana

The proposed move comes as gaming revenue in the state reached a record-breaking $5.7 billion last year. As per data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the corresponding tax revenue reached a record $2.34 billion, surpassing the 2022 figure of $2.12 billion.

This surge was primarily attributed to a substantial 28% growth in iGaming revenue, amounting to $1.74 billion for the year. The diverse revenue sources encompass slot machines, table games, sports wagering, iGaming, video gaming terminals, and fantasy contests.

Banning the use of credit cards is not an unheard-of approach to combatting problem gambling. Other states with online gaming and sports betting have prohibited the use of credit cards, including Iowa, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.

Looking outside the US, last year, the Australian Federal Parliament passed legislation prohibiting the use of credit cards to fund online betting. The measure, supported by Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) and its members, aims to protect consumers and their families by facilitating control over gambling behavior.

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