Credit Card Payments Become Contentious Issue For North Carolina Sports Betting

Online sports betting could become legal in North Carolina before long. A new bill that would make that happen is currently navigating the state Senate.

Legalization would open the door for up to a dozen North Carolina sports betting apps to open for business.

Using these sites is convenient for bettors, but online sportsbooks raise questions about how residents can fund their accounts. For example, using credit cards to fund sports betting accounts has become a contentious issue in North Carolina.

Lawmakers raise credit card payment concerns

Most legal sports betting states in the US let bettors fund their accounts with a credit card.

However, some states decided to go in a different direction. Massachusetts is the most-recent sports betting state to join that list.

Bettors in the commonwealth can’t use credit cards to fund their accounts, but they can access other simple options. Using debit cards and linking your bank account directly to your favorite sports betting app have become popular alternatives.

The idea of banning credit card payments has already been raised for North Carolina’s new sports betting bill. It’s one of a few different contentious topics that keep coming up for the proposed legislation.

The argument against credit cards is that it allows bettors to spend money they don’t technically have, which could potentially fuel problem gambling behaviors.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, repeatedly raised the issue while North Carolina’s bill went through the state’s House of Representatives.

“In Great Britain, allowing online gambling operators to access credit cards was found to be so dangerously addictive and financially harmful for users that the practice was banned in 2020,” Harrison said March 28 during the bill’s third reading. “Internet gambling has some unique features that make it more dangerous than land-based gambling.”

Harrison introduced several amendments that would have banned credit card usage for North Carolina sports betting. All of those amendments failed.

Consumer protections could make sports betting safe

The current version of the Tar Heel State sports betting bill allows for credit card usage. Now that the bill is in the Senate, that will remain unless someone in that chamber manages to change it.

Supporters of credit card payments often point to the extra security of credit cards as a reason to allow their use for sports betting.

For example, you’ll get your money back if someone steals your card information and runs up your tab. That’s thanks to the cover the Consumer Credit Protection Act provides.

The same isn’t necessarily true for other forms of payment, such as debit cards. If someone gets your information and spends your money, you could be out of luck.

During the third hearing for North Carolina’s sports betting bill, Rep. John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg, opposed Harrison’s amendment to ban credit card payments. He argued that bettors would be able to bypass any credit card ban in North Carolina.

“If this were to pass, people can actually take a credit card, go to PayPal, get a cash advance, pull the money out of PayPal and then gamble it,” Bradford said. “You can get around it, and so it really I think undermines the purpose of what we’re trying to do.”

While Harrison’s attempts to remove credit card payments failed, this likely won’t be the end of the issue. It wouldn’t be a shock to see other lawmakers bring up the topic again while the bill makes its way through the Senate.

About the Author

Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.