National Council on Problem Gambling Applauds Blumenthal and Salinas for Introducing Groundbreaking GRIT Act to Address Gambling Addiction

Washington, DC – 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.

Gambling addiction is a significant public health concern, affecting approximately 9 million American adults, and resulting in severe social and economic consequences. The annual social cost of problem gambling is estimated at $14 billion, reflecting gambling-related criminal justice and healthcare spending as well as job loss and bankruptcy. NCPG research indicates that the risk for gambling addiction rose by 30 percent between 2018 and 2021 alone, yet there are currently no federal funds dedicated to gambling addiction treatment or research. This gap underscores the pressing need for comprehensive measures to address and mitigate the impact of gambling addiction.

Susan Sheridan Tucker, President of the NCPG Board of Directors, emphasized the urgent need for federal intervention, stating,

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 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.”

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 impact of the GRIT Act provides direct and vital support to state health agencies and nonprofits addressing gambling problems. 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.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, expressed gratitude for the leadership of Senator Blumenthal and Representative Salinas. He stated,

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. 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.”

Learn more about the GRIT Act HERE.

For questions contact

Cait Huble