Advocacy

NCPG is the national advocate for the problem gambling field, advocating for programs and services to assist people and families affected by problem gambling, as well as employers and communities. Our efforts to educate Congress and the Federal health agencies focus on prevention, education, treatment, enforcement and research on gambling and problem gambling. We urge NCPG members and supporters to utilize the materials listed below and elsewhere on our website, and with NCPG’s affiliates, to increase awareness of and provide solutions for gambling problems. NCPG receives no Federal funding nor any dedicated state-level funding; we are funded primarily by members and donors.

There is no Federal agency tasked to address problem gambling – not the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), not the National Institutes of Health, not the National Institute of Mental Health, not the National Institute on Drug Abuse nor the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction. None of the $7.6 billion in Federal gambling taxes currently goes to address the consequences of gambling addiction.  Federal agencies cannot simply choose to target something like gambling addiction; they must be specifically tasked to do so by the US Government’s Executive branch and supported by funding from Congress. Personal stories make a huge difference.

Contact your leaders and congressional representatives to let them know how gambling addiction has affected you, your family, your company/ employees/customers, and your community – make your voice heard!

Advocacy Priorities

  1. Dedicated funding for problem gambling services and prevention programs on the state and national level.
  2. Federal recognition of problem gambling as an addiction eligible for resources and treatment through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  3. Funds and independent research to identify trends in gambling addiction.

Current advocacy Efforts

Sports Betting Expansion in States

More than 30 states allow legal sports betting following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Murphy v. NCAA in 2018. At least 10 states have passed legislation to expand gambling in 2021. NCPG adopted specific recommendations for sports betting laws in our Responsible Gaming Principles for Sports Gambling Legislation and we encourage stakeholders in states where sports betting legalization is under consideration to review and employ these principles. NCPG further encourages state lawmakers to set aside at least one percent of the proceeds from these new laws to be dedicated for problem gambling treatment and prevention programs.

Click here for the 2021 Legislative Wrap-Up, which details where states are expanding and the outlook for the year ahead.

Federal Sports Wagering Excise Tax

The gambling industry wants to repeal an excise tax on sports wagers. The tax amounts to 0.25% on all sports bets placed with commercial sportsbooks. The tax generates an estimated $50 million that should be used to address problem gambling needs and research. With states expanding sports betting, the excise tax is likely to bring in more revenue in the future. Rather than repeal the tax, Congress should use these funds to address the behavioral health addiction of gambling disorder for the first time.

Gambling Addiction Prevention (GAP) Act

The General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report in 2017 noting that the Department of Defense (DOD) maintained 3,141 slot machines at overseas military installations.  The GAO Report noted that between FY 2011 and 2015 the slot machines generated about $100 million per year. GAO also found that DOD did not screen military personnel for gambling disorder. NCPG supported the Gambling Addiction Prevention Act (GAP) which called on Congress to address gambling disorder screening for active duty military personnel and update the guidance related to behavioral health. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act included language based on the GAP Act. NCPG is monitoring compliance with the provisions of the act to determine if further legislation is needed.

Mental Health Liaison Group

Gambling Disorder is recognized as a behavioral health addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) issued by the American Psychiatric Association. In order to broaden awareness of problem gambling and to build a strong partnership with other organizations addressing mental health issues, NCPG became an affiliate member of the Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) in July 2021. The Mental Health Liaison Group (MHLG) is a coalition of national organizations representing consumers, family members, mental health and addiction providers, advocates, payers and other stakeholders committed to strengthening Americans’ access to mental health and addiction care. NCPG works as a partner in MHLG to advance federal policies that support prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery services and supports.

PROBLEM GAMBLING ADVOCACY DAY

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, NCPG hosted Problem Gambling Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to build Congressional support and awareness of problem gambling programs and needs. The Advocacy Day provided an opportunity for key stakeholders to meet and train on grassroots advocacy tactics, review legislative goals and meet with members of Congress and their staff. Due to the pandemic and restrictions on activity on Capitol Hill, NCPG has suspended plans for an Advocacy Day at this time. Details of past Advocacy Day activities can be reviewed at ncpgadvocacy.wordpress.com.

Legislative Advocacy Tools

  • A helpful and comprehensive Advocacy Handbook for mental health issues has been created by the National Council on Mental Wellbeing.

The following materials were created by NCPG staff

Issue Briefs & Policy Materials

Testimony Archive