Underdog Sports becomes first sports wagering operator to support the GRIT Act
Underdog Sports has officially announced that it is the first sports wagering operator to back up the federal Gambling addiction Recovery, Investment and Treatment (GRIT) Act. This legislation aims to take about half of the federal excise tax on sports wagering and direct it to responsible and problem gambling strategies.
The operator, which plans to launch its first sports wagering operation in North Carolina in March, believes it is the first firm to officially support the bill. The legislation was introduced in January by Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Oregon) and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and it calls for the distribution of half of 1Q of 1 percent tax on handle to help combat problem gambling.
Vice President of Responsible Gaming for Underdog Sports, Adam Warrington, expressed the company’s support for the legislation, stating, “There is a need for dedicated federal resources to aid problem gambling prevention, research, and treatment. The GRIT Act would direct existing tax dollars paid by legal operators 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.”
However, the bill has faced opposition from some quarters. Nevada Rep. Dina Titus supports the complete abolition of the excise tax and expressed that she was “blindsided” by the initiation of the GRIT bill. The American Gaming Association (AGA) has also come out against the bill, while the National Council on Problem Gambling supports it.
The proposed bill allocates 75% of its funds to be distributed to states to implement responsible and problem gambling programs, with the remaining 25% funding federal gambling addiction research. It also mandates the Secretary of Health and Human Services to file an official report to Congress evaluating the effectiveness of the implemented programs. If the legislation is validated, it will remain in force for 10 years.