Underdog Fantasy Supports the GRIT Act to Combat Problem Gambling

In a pioneering move, Underdog Sports has distinguished itself as the first sports betting operator to endorse the federal Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment (GRIT) Act.

This groundbreaking legislation, introduced by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Representative Andrea Salinas (D-Oregon), aims to address the critical issue of problem gambling by allocating half of the federal excise tax on sports betting to fund problem gambling and responsible gaming initiatives.

Adam Warrington, Vice President of Responsible Gaming at Underdog Sports, emphasized the urgent need for dedicated federal resources to support problem gambling prevention, research, and treatment.

He stated, “The GRIT Act would direct existing tax dollars paid by legal operators to be utilized to fill the current funding gap.

As there are currently no federal funds allocated for problem gambling, we at Underdog support directing existing tax dollars as online sports gaming and wagering grows in the United States.”

The proposed legislation seeks to utilize 50% of the one-quarter of 1% tax on sports betting for this purpose. It outlines that 75% of the generated funds should be returned to states for the implementation of problem and responsible gambling programs, with the remaining 25% earmarked for federal research on gambling addiction.

Furthermore, it mandates a report to Congress within three years of its enactment to assess the “effectiveness” of these programs, with the legislation set to remain in effect for a decade.

Despite the noble intentions of the GRIT Act, it has not been without controversy. Nevada Representative Dina Titus has expressed a desire to eliminate the federal excise tax on sports betting altogether and mentioned being “blindsided” by the bill’s introduction.

nevada representative dina titus

Nevada Representative Dina Titus

The legislation has also sparked debate within the gaming industry, receiving support from the National Council on Problem Gambling and opposition from the American Gaming Association, which represents numerous sportsbooks. The latter argues that states are already directing revenue towards problem gambling initiatives.

Underdog Sports, poised to make its sports betting debut in North Carolina, stands out for its proactive stance on responsible gaming, despite not yet paying federal excise tax as it has not officially launched sports wagering.

The GRIT Act has also found backing from several problem gambling councils across the United States, highlighting the widespread acknowledgment of the need for federal intervention in problem gambling.

The introduction of the GRIT Act comes at a critical time, with nearly 7 million U.S. residents affected by problem gambling and an estimated $7 billion in annual social costs associated with gambling-related issues.

As the legislation progresses, it represents a significant step toward addressing and mitigating the impacts of problem gambling in the United States, marking a notable shift in the approach to gambling addiction recovery and treatment.

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In 2005, Tsvetan Tarpov began his academic journey, dedicating four years to studying Law in the sea capital of Bulgaria - Varna. Upon completion, he shifted his focus to Plovdiv, spending another four years immersed in the study of International Relations. This solid educational foundation, especially his exposure to Law, sharpened his eye for detail.