Underdog Fantasy voices support for problem gambling measure

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A problem gambling measure has received approval from an emerging operator.

Underdog Fantasy, which is planning to launch sports betting operations later this year, has voiced support for the proposed Gambling Addiction Recovery, Investment, and Treatment Act (GRIT). The measure, introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep Andrea Salinas, would make history as the first piece of legislation to provide federal funding to address problem gambling.

“There is a need for dedicated federal resources to aid problem gambling prevention, research, and treatment,” said Underdog VP of Responsible Gaming Adam Warrington in a statement. “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.”

The GRIT Act would curtail problem gambling with funding taken from 50% of federal sports excise tax revenue, a stipulation many operators have shied away from. As a result, Underdog is so far the first daily fantasy or sports betting company to endorse the proposed measure in its infancy.

Underdog, which has yet to officially launch sports wagering, does not currently pay federal excise tax.

Tax revenue generated from the GRIT Act would also be allocated toward the existing Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Since its introduction, the GRIT Act has garnered support from the National Council on Problem Gambling, the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.

Despite support from those groups, the GRIT Act has been opposed by one of the largest in commercial gambling, the American Gaming Association. Last month, the AGA voiced displeasure with the measure due to states already allocating revenue toward problem gambling.

Nearly 7 million U.S. residents suffer from problem gambling, according to Salinas. The gambling-related issues have resulted in approximately $7 billion in annual social costs.