Senator Richard Blumenthal and US Representative Andrea Salinas recently introduced the GRIT Act, which aims to address gambling addiction. The act proposes to allocate 25% of the federal sports betting excise tax revenue to fund research grants and 75% for the prevention and treatment of problem gamblers. Last year’s figures indicate that the Act would have allocated $125 million towards these initiatives.

The National Council for Problem Gambling and other responsible gambling advocacy groups have expressed support for the Act, while the American Gaming Association (AGA) has opposed it. The AGA believes that the GRIT Act would put legal gambling operators at a competitive disadvantage. According to Chris Cylke, the AGA’s senior vice president of government relations, the excise tax on legal sports betting operators is outdated and gives illegal operators an advantage as they do not pay taxes.

Cylke emphasized that the AGA will continue to educate Congress about the need to repeal the excise tax to ensure that Americans can benefit from the safeguards of a regulated market. Despite unsuccessful efforts to repeal the tax in the past, the AGA remains committed to fighting for its elimination.

Sportsbooks paid over $250 million in federal excise taxes in 2023, exceeding the revenues that many states collect from sports betting annually. The AGA also announced the launch of a free online industry training program in collaboration with RG24seven Virtual Training to combat human trafficking.

Overall, the introduction of the GRIT Act has sparked a debate within the industry, with proponents arguing that it is essential for addressing gambling addiction, while opponents believe it could hurt legal gambling operators and the industry as a whole. The future of the Act and the excise tax remains uncertain as both sides continue to advocate for their positions.

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