Gambling addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment Act introduced in Congress, with NCPG endorsement

January 11, 2024 8:48 PM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
January 11, 2024 8:48 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports

The National Council on Problem Gambling Thursday announced its support for the Gambling addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment (GRIT) Act. Introduced in Congress on Thursday by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and Oregon Representative Andrea Salinas, the legislation is meant to establish a federal funding stream dedicated to preventing, treating, and researching gambling addition in the U.S.

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“The GRIT Act reflects a pivotal step toward long-overdue support for those grappling with gambling addiction,” said NCPG President of the Board of Directors Susan Sheridan Tucker in a statement. “We commend Senator Blumenthal and Representative Salinas for their dedication to addressing the burgeoning public health crisis of gambling addiction. The National Council on Problem Gambling stands in full support of this legislation, recognizing its potential to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and families across the nation.”

According to the NCPG, gambling addiction results in $7 billion in gambling-related criminal-justice and healthcare spending, in addition to job losses and bankruptcies. NCPG research indicates that the risk for gambling addiction rose by 30 percent between 2018 and 2021. No federal funds are currently dedicated to gambling-addiction treatment or research.

Key provisions of the GRIT Act include:

  • Allocation of 50% of current federal sports excise-tax revenue for gambling-addiction treatment and research administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Health and Human Services distribution of 75% to states for prevention and treatment through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program. The remaining 25% will go to the National Institute of Drug Abuse for research grants into gambling addiction.
  • Authorizing the spending for 10 years with a mandated report to Congress on the program’s effectiveness within three years of passage.

The GRIT Act does not raise taxes or create additional bureaucracy, but instead leverages existing federal excise-tax revenue and operates within the existing Health and Human Services framework.

“The introduction of the GRIT Act is a testament to our shared commitment to mitigating gambling-related harm and addressing the challenges of gambling addiction,” said NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte. “This landmark legislation sets the stage to significantly bolster gambling addiction prevention, research, and treatment resources and make a positive lasting impact on individuals and communities nationwide.”