Today marks a significant milestone in the fight against gambling addiction, as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and U.S. Representative Andrea Salinas of Oregon introduced the Gambling addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment (GRIT) Act. This groundbreaking legislation addresses a critical gap in our nation’s approach to addiction by establishing the first-ever federal funding stream dedicated to preventing, treating, and researching gambling addiction in the United States.
Key provisions of the GRIT Act include:
- Allocating 50% of the 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 and direct the remaining 25% to the National Institute of Drug Abuse for research grants into gambling addiction.
- Authorizing spending for 10 years and mandating a report to Congress on the program’s effectiveness within three years of passage.
The GRIT Act provides direct and vital support to state health agencies and nonprofits addressing problem gambling. It also creates investment in best practices and comprehensive research at the national level.
Importantly, the GRIT Act does not raise taxes or create additional bureaucracy. It leverages existing federal excise tax revenue and operates within the existing Health and Human Services framework.
The GRIT Act is a long-overdue step towards supporting those struggling with or impacted by 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. We applaud Senator Blumenthal and Representative Salinas for their dedication to addressing the burgeoning public health crisis of gambling addiction.
NCPG would also like to recognize the leadership and staff of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling and the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling for their invaluable assistance leading to the introduction of the GRIT Act.