Rep. Salinas, Sen. Blumenthal Introduce GRIT Act To Create Federal Gambling Addiction Treatment Funding

U.S. Representative Andrea Salinas (OR-06) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Gambling addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment (GRIT) Act on Thursday. This groundbreaking legislation would produce dedicated federal funding for gambling addiction treatment, prevention, and research in the US.

GRIT Act Would Create Dedicated Federal Funding For Gambling Addiction

While US sports betting and gambling legislation has grown at a rapid pace, available resources for problem gamblers have struggled to keep up.

The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates that roughly 7 million Americans have a gambling addiction — taking a toll on the US to the sum of $7 billion annually.

Moreover, the majority of nonprofit agencies and state health organizations are underfunded when it comes to gambling-related initiatives. The GRIT Act intends to change this by shifting existing federal funding to gambling addiction treatment and research.

Rep. Salinas said:

“Gambling addictions are hurting countless families, children, and communities in Oregon and across America. Yet unlike alcohol and drug addictions, there are currently no federal funds devoted solely to helping stop problem gambling. Our legislation will deliver much-needed resources to states and nonprofits, promoting new research and ensuring more people can get into treatment and recovery. This is a commonsense solution and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting it.”

Sen. Blumenthal added:

“The growing legalization of sports and online betting, paired with the ability to place bets from your phone whenever you want have created a perfect storm for gambling addiction. Dedicated federal resources to tackle problem gambling head-on will provide much-needed support, resources, and treatment for those suffering from gambling addiction. As the number of Americans who are suffering from gambling addiction surges, legislation like the GRIT Act is needed now more than ever.”

More about the GRIT Act

Rather than raising taxes to account for these funds, this legislation looks to reallocate existing federal excise tax revenue and utilize existing HHS services for carrying out operations.

The GRIT Act looks to:

  • Dedicate half of all federal sports excise tax revenue to gambling addiction treatment and research
    • 75% to the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program for distribution to states
    • 25% to the National Institute of Drug Abuse to fund grants to research gambling addiction
  • Deliver program update report from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to Congress within three years
  • Aid underfunded state health agencies and nonprofits in addressing gambling problems

This type of thorough research and industry investment, the Act says, can only be successfully executed at a national level, making the need for a federal funding all the more dire.

NCPG & Fellow Problem Gambling Councils Voice Support

Three agencies have already voiced their full support of the GRIT Act, including:

  • National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)
  • Oregon Council on Problem Gambling (OCPG)
  • Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling (CCPG)

NCPG Executive Director Keith Whyte said:

“The GRIT Act will help address the critical and often overlooked issue of gambling addiction, and I am grateful for the leadership of Senator Blumenthal and Representative Salinas in introducing the bill. The investment into gambling addiction research, prevention, and treatment is a necessary step to minimize gambling-related harm nationwide and reduce its impact on countless American families.”

Gina Parziale, executive director of the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling, added:

“As a coalition of stakeholders from the gaming industry, we are grateful to Congresswoman Salinas for introducing this legislation to benefit Oregonians and all Americans. State health agencies and nonprofits should not have to address gambling problems on our own. As the Federal Government accepts gambling as a source of income, it has a duty-of-care to its citizens to take measures to minimize gambling related harm.”

CCPG Executive Director Diana Goode concluded:

“Gambling related harm doesn’t recognize borders between cities and states. That is why this federal initiative to provide much needed funding for prevention, treatment, and research is so vital. In Connecticut we are very fortunate to have a robust set of programs aimed at helping those impacted by problem gambling and their families. This legislation will allow other states to be able to create similar programs to benefit their citizens.”

Alec Cunningham is a lead writer and analyst for Lineups.com. She has covered countless online sports betting and casino legislation topics and now specializes in responsible gambling and gambling addiction recovery. In 2022, she served as a panelist at the All-American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry. As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. After working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer, she returned to her love of written word in 2020. Since then, Cunningham's love of sports has led her to become a responsible gambling advocate.

Hot Betting News Stories