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Melanie Porter January 17, 2024 3 min read
American Gaming Association Rejects the Federal GRIT Act
The American Gaming Association has opposed the recently tabled Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment Act proposed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and US Rep. Andrea Salinas
Earlier in the week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and US Rep. Andrea Salinas introduced the Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment Act (GRIT).
The GRIT would fund a series of research grants (25% of the revenue) as well as prevention and treatment solutions for problem gamblers (75% of the revenue) via a 50% diversion of the federal sports betting excise tax.
According to last year’s figures, the Act would have earmarked $125 million. So far, a number of responsible gambling advocacy groups including the leading trade organization for gambling in North America, the National Council for Problem Gambling, have announced they would back up the Act.
The American Gaming Association (AGA), as expected, announced it would oppose the measure filed earlier in the week.
AGA Believes the GRIT Gives a “Competitive Disadvantage”
Using the voice of its senior vice president of government relations, Chris Cylke, the AGA explained that the development of the industry today allows a great deal of focus to be put and money to be transferred to the problem gambling causes.
Cylke added that almost every tax dollar earmarked for services tied to problem gambling originates in taxes from casino gaming, which also includes newly opened and legal iGaming and sports betting markets.
Going further, the SVP spoke about Congress’s enactment of the federal sports betting excise tax in the fifties as a means of prosecuting illegal gambling while emphasizing that the now “antiquated policy” gives today’s legal market a great disadvantage in front of its competitors.
The latter category is represented by offshore illegal operators who do not pay taxes and keep preying on vulnerable players.
AGA Will Keep Fighting to Repeal the Excise Tax
Cylke further highlighted that the AGA will keep educating Congress regarding the reasons why enacting “bipartisan legislation” to repeal the excise tax imposed on legal sports betting operators is deemed necessary for ensuring Americans can benefit from the safeguards of a regulated market.
Not wanting to “give criminals a leg up,” AGA will officially reject the Act despite their failed efforts to see Nevada Rep. Dina Titus and Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler’s yearly bipartisan bill from 2020 onward come to life.
In 2023 alone, sportsbooks paid federal excise taxes of more than $250 million. The amount represents more than what many states manage to collect on sports betting every year.
On January 11, the association that serves as “the industry’s champion across the country by advocating on complex issues that individual members cannot change alone” has also launched its pioneer free online industry training together with RG24seven Virtual Training to fight off human trafficking.