A state Senator in Pennsylvania is targeting a ban on credit cards for gambling in a move mirroring similar legislative decisions as far away from US shores as Australia.

Sen. Wayne D. Fontana of the Democratic Party is planning on launching legislation to the Pennsylvania state Congress that would present the use of credit cards for sports betting, daily fantasy contests, iLottery and online casino payments.

The lawmakers primary motivation is a desire to curtail problem gambling in Pennsylvania following the launch of an online betting and gaming market in the state. The Northeastern state became one of the first to do so following the 2018 repeal of PASPA.

The timing of Fontana’s legislative proposal coincides with National Problem Gambling Awareness Month, a month-long initiative seeking to raise awareness of gambling harm and offering resources. Fellow lawmakers have been notified of his plans.

Should Fontana’s bill be approved by state Congressmen and Senators it will join Iowa, Tennessee and Massachusetts as states that have prohibited the use of credit cards to fund gaming.

Explaining Iowa’s decision back in 2022, Sen. Tony Bisignano told Radio Iowa: “If you want to lose your paycheck, that’s fine. I don’t know how long you get away with that from your family, but with a credit card, you can run up a debt that can’t possibly be paid.”

Operators in Pennsylvania, which is one of the largest US igaming markets with $858.1m accepted in sports betting wagers in January, should monitor these developments and those in other states, closely.

In Iowa, fines totalling $200,000 have been issued across the state against betting companies for violating the credit card ban. In Massachusetts and Tennessee, where credit card betting payments were banned from the outset of market launch, operators have also found themselves facing potential legal trouble.

Banning credit card payments for igaming is not just a North American policy, however – the UK did so in 2019, Sweden is evaluating implementation of new laws around its own ban, whilst Australia is also moving to do so as part of sweeping federal gambling law reform.