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Youth Gambling Awareness

Helping youth to make informed and healthy decisions about gambling.

The Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) is a free service funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. This program reaches youth aged 8-24, as well as those who influence and work with youth. This program offers youth information to make informed and healthy decisions about gambling.

Program Offerings

  • Workshops for parents, teachers, camp staff, and health professionals

  • Interactive presentations for youth at schools and organizations that work with youth

  • Indoor and outdoor interactive, age-appropriate presentations with games and props

  • Presentations can be 30 to 75 minutes in length

  • Referrals to gambling treatment services

Community Involvement

To promote community awareness and involvement in issues related to youth gambling, we partner with various community organizations. We collaborate to plan and implement events, which are included at each of the YGAP sites.

Youth Engagement

YGAP supports youth-driven initiatives in our community to promote youth expression and community action related to youth gambling.

Our Approach

  • Gambling Neutral — We don’t make value judgments regarding gambling. Rather we see it as an activity people may or may not choose to engage in.

  • Harm Reduction — Like many activities, gambling contains some risk. Gaining accurate knowledge about gambling and learning positive play strategies can help reduce the risk that may be associated with gambling.

  • Balanced Perspective — Discuss both the positives and negatives of gambling and how they impact our community and self.

Recent Research

Here is some information regarding youth gambling from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

  • Gambling patterns start as early as 8 years of age and can be established before adolescence.

  • Children and adolescents commonly engage in legalized and self-organized gambling activities at home and in school.

  • The earlier people start to gamble, the more likely it is to be an issue later on.

  • Although problem gambling has been primarily thought of as an adult behaviour, gambling activities appear to be particularly attractive to today's youth. Studies conducted in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Europe, and Australia have noted rising prevalence rates of youth involvement in both legal and illegal forms of gambling.

  • According to a study by researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Waterloo, 42% of all adolescents surveyed reported that they had gambled money or something of value. Popular gambling activities included: a dare or challenge (22%), instant-win or scratch tickets (14%), games of skill such as pool or darts (12%), offline sports pools (9%), and cards, such as poker and black jack (9%).

  • The study also found that technology has made gambling accessible to youth everywhere. Nearly 10% of teens said they had gambled online in the past three months.

  • Finally, the study noted that 36% of online gambling teens had a score indicating a potential problem (versus 8% for offline gamblers).

  • Gambling problem prevalence among youth is 2-4 times higher than the adult population.

  • Youth with gambling problems tend to report higher rates of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Youth need to understand and know their choices before facing risky situations.

Connect with our YGAP Team

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