Despite pending congressional legislation that would ban Internet gambling, plaintiffs’ lawyers have launched a series of federal class actions aimed at holding the high rollers of the credit card industry responsible for the online gambling losses of consumers.

Filed in Alabama and Wisconsin, the complaints accuse major credit card companies and banks of flagrantly violating state and federal laws by collecting debts incurred as a result of illegal Internet gambling. Plaintiffs’ lawyers say the six years’ worth of gambling debts they are seeking, constrained only by the statute of limitations, could amount to billions of dollars in returned payments, interest and even damages.