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Can't Use My Credit Card for Mobile Sports Betting in PA Any More
Can't Use My Credit Card for Mobile Sports Betting in PA Any More
May 22, 2024 11:41 PM

In 2018, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania became one of the first to legalize mobile sports betting.

What should be one of the most appealing sports gambling markets in the US is anything but.

Before New York came along, PA imposed the highest tax rate of any state on operators, a 36% tax on sports betting revenue.  Ouch!

Gamblers pay the typical 24% federal tax rate but also a 3.07% income tax rate.  Whether the gambler ends up paying into the operator's cost through less competitive lines and reduced welcome bonuses when compared with other states, the verdict is still out.  What we do know is that Unibet did have a tough time operating here.  They barely even tried.  Now that company is set to abandon the US market altogether.  Their PA-based employees remain in the dark though. 

It hasn't been all bad.  Sure PA gamblers can't bet on the NFL Draft, politics, entertainment, some of the more fun Super Bowl props or eSports.  They can wager on their beloved Nittany Lions.  That's a plus considering most of the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states prohibit betting on in-state schools or games that feature them.

Gaming revenue brought in a record amount for the commonwealth last year, nearly $5.7 billion.  That's certainly nothing to sneeze at.

There is some bad news coming, however.

Soon, PA sports bettors and online casino players may not be able to use their credit cards to deposit funds.

Let's face it, the ability to use a credit card has long been the lifeblood for any sportsbook business, with the lone exception being a local bookie.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is introducing legislation that would prohibit credit cards from being used for online and mobile sports betting as well as iGaming. 

State Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny County) cites high debt brought on by credit card usage as the rationale behind such a bill.

“Online gaming and sports betting is growing exponentially, especially with young adults,” Sen. Fontana said. “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.”

We don't know if this measure will gain any traction.  What we do know is that credit card debt is a real thing, gambling addiction is a real thing, and the prohibition of credit cards in other states is a real thing.  Iowa, Tennessee and Massachusetts are the three states that do not allow credit cards for betting sports online.

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