The GRIT Act Seeks to Redirect Federal Funding to Gambling Addiction Services

The GRIT Act is a new legislative proposal that aims to address the issue of gambling addiction by redirecting federal funding to research and treatment services. Specifically, the act would direct half of the current federal sports excise tax revenue to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support efforts related to problematic gambling.

Under the GRIT Act, 75% of these funds would be allocated to treatment and prevention programs through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant Program, while the rest of the money would go towards research grants. The proposed legislation also includes a ten-year spending model, with a review of its effectiveness to be conducted within three years of its implementation.

One of the key aspects of the GRIT Act is its financing structure, which does not require higher taxes and utilizes existing federal excise tax revenue. Additionally, it aims to minimize bureaucratic hurdles by leveraging existing HHS procedures and programs.

The federal government currently collects approximately $235 million in sports excise tax revenue each year, indicating the potential for significant funding to be directed towards gambling addiction services. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has expressed its support for the GRIT Act, with the organization’s President, Susan Sheridan Tucker, emphasizing the long overdue nature of the legislation. Tucker stated that the NCPG recognizes the “potential to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals and families across the nation.”

The need for federal funding dedicated to problem gambling is underscored by the stark absence of such resources. Despite the annual social cost of gambling addiction estimated at $7 billion, including expenses related to healthcare, criminal justice, bankruptcies, and job losses, there is currently no federal support for research or treatment services. With approximately seven million adult Americans suffering from gambling addiction, the introduction of the GRIT Act reflects a significant step towards addressing this issue.

The NCPG is actively involved in combating the rising numbers of gambling addiction, with initiatives such as a national helpline, a problem gambling awareness month, and an annual conference dedicated to the topic. The introduction of the GRIT Act signals a potential shift towards increased federal support for addressing gambling addiction in the United States.

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