HR 6009, the Comprehensive Awareness of Problem Gambling Act of 2006, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 28, 2006 by Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA). NCPG played a major role in the drafting of this legislation, and we strongly support it. The highlights of the current bill are:
- Prevention and Treatment: $10 million per year for four years for prevention and treatment of problem gambling. Funds will be allocated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through competitive grants to non-profit and state government programs.
- Research: $4 million per year for four years for research on problem gambling by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies. The bill recommends that the agencies consider the research recommendations from the NGISC report, and calls for the appointment of an advisory commission to help coordinate the research.
- Public Awareness: $200,000 per year for four years to support and augment existing national problem gambling awareness campaigns, such as National Problem Gambling Awareness Week (NPGAW). It also calls on the media, advertising, business and sports industries to provide public service announcements on problem gambling.
- Sense of Congress: A non-binding statement that encourages states to dedicate a portion of gaming revenues to problem gambling programs. The total projected financial expenditure is $56.8 million over four years (2007-2010):
- Prevention and Treatment: $10 million per year, $40 million total
- Research: $4 million per year, $16 million total
- Public Awareness: $200,000 per year, $.8 million total
According to NCPG, there is a need for specific, dedicated Federal appropriations for problem gambling research and services, given that many of states do not provide any public funds for problem gambling services. The main beneficiaries of this bill will be state organizations who not only will have opportunities to bid on research and treatment grants, but also will have additional impetus to work with their state legislatures for funding of problem gambling services.
In its current form, the bill does not expand, restrict or tax state gambling operations. It concentrates on providing support at the state level to help problem gamblers and their families. NCPG believes it is a balanced approach by providing federal funds to meet gaps in state service delivery systems while preserving the stateÕs responsibility and authority over gambling policy and regulation.
National Problem Gambling Awareness Week 2007:
March 5-11, 2007 has been selected as the next National Problem Gambling Awareness Week (NPGAW). NPGAW is a grassroots campaign of NCPG to educate healthcare providers and the general public about problem gambling. Posters, flyers, brochures and screening tools are provided free of charge through a Web site (www.npgaw.org) and on CD-ROM. Radio, television and print public service announcements (PSA) are distributed nationwide. Last year, the print PSA ran in 192 papers with a readership of 10.3 million, the television versions were broadcast 362 times in 33 different states with an estimated audience of 86 million. The radio release aired 452 times and reached 26.8 million in 43 states. Major sponsors of NPGAW included Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., IGT, Mohegan Sun as well as the Minnesota, Vermont and Virginia lotteries. We urge other leaders in the gaming industry to join this effort.