NCPG comments on new GRIT Act for funding of gambling addiction treatment

Updated:2024-03-20 10:36    Views:94

US Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and US Representative Andrea Salinas of Oregon have introduced the Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment and Treatment (GRIT) Act.

This legislation aims to bridge a gap in the national approach to addiction by establishing the first-ever federal funding stream dedicated to preventing, treating and researching gambling addiction in the US.

Gambling addiction poses a public health concern, affecting approximately 7 million American adults and resulting in social and economic consequences, estimated at a staggering $7bn annually. 

Despite a 30% rise in the risk of gambling addiction between 2018 and 2021, there are currently no federal funds dedicated to gambling addiction treatment or research. The GRIT Act seeks to address this gap. 

Susan Sheridan Tucker, President of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) Board of Directors, said: “The GRIT Act reflects a pivotal step towards long-overdue support for those grappling with gambling addiction.

"We commend Senator Blumenthal and Representative Salinas for their dedication to addressing the burgeoning public health crisis of gambling addiction. The NCPG stands in full support of this legislation, recognising its potential to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and families across the nation.”

Key provisions of the GRIT Act include the allocation of 50% of the current federal sports excise tax revenue for gambling addiction treatment and research.

The funds would be administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services,Online Casino Games with 75% distributed to states for prevention and treatment through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant programme.

The remaining 25% would be directed to the National Institute of Drug Abuse for research grants into gambling addiction. The legislation authorises spending for ten years and mandates a report to Congress on the programme's effectiveness within three years of passage.

The GRIT Act leverages existing federal excise tax revenue and operates within the existing Health and Human Services framework, avoiding tax increases or additional bureaucracy.

The NCPG has been actively engaged in initiatives related to responsible gambling and addiction prevention. In December 2023, the organisation partnered with SG:certified to streamline the evaluation process of its Internet Compliance Assessment Program (iCAP), a US accreditation for player protection in online gambling.

Additionally, the NCPG announced its Fall 2023 Agility Grants, awarding a total of $176,000 to five non-profit organisations working on innovative strategies to prevent and address problem gambling. These grants are part of the NCPG's commitment to providing over $1m in funding between 2022 and 2024, with contributions from entities like the NFL Foundation and online gambling platform FanDuel.

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