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Senators Take Lead

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has welcomed consumer protection measures contained in the new bill published by Senators Orrin Hatch and Charles Schumer this week on federal oversight of sports betting. The organization stopped short, however, of taking a position on the overall legislation, adding that it remains neutral on legalized gambling.

The bill, if passed, would make provision for federal funding dedicated to problem gambling (which encompasses gambling disorder and gambling addiction), the first time such a provision has ever been included in any federal bill.

It would appropriate $5m to the Department of Health and Human Services for gambling addiction research and dedicate revenue from the existing federal sports wagering excise tax to programs for the prevention and treatment of gambling disorder as well as law enforcement.

The bill also seeks to establish a nationwide self-exclusion service that people with gambling problems can voluntarily use and that sports betting operators in all states can utilize to honor these requests for prohibiting personal bets. Furthermore, it puts in place a variety of gambling-related consumer protections, including disclosure and advertising.

Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the NCPG, said: “We thank Senator Hatch and Senator Schumer for their leadership in addressing problem gambling. This bill provides the first-ever dedicated Federal funding for gambling addiction prevention, research and treatment programs. These measures are a critical first step to addressing problem gambling across the country, balancing the costs and benefits of legalized gambling. ”

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