YMCA of Greater Toronto

Youth Gambling Awareness Program

Promoting Healthy and Informed Choices.

The YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) is a free service funded by Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care offering educational prevention programs to youth and adults involved in young people’s lives on gambling awareness including potential risks, making informed decisions and healthy and active living.

Prevention begins with awareness

YGAP provides a multi-faceted and innovative approach to problem gambling prevention through outreach, community education, and community awareness activities like community involvement events and youth engagement projects.

YGAP’s work in the community includes a variety of tools fitting the needs of individuals and communities:

singer playing guitar

Beyond Betting Audio Series

The "Beyond Betting" audio series tackles the topic of player packs in video games such as Madden, Fifa, NBA 2K. Player packs are an in-game feature added to game modes in some video games. Player pack openings are completely random and include an element of risk when using real money or in-game currency to purchase them. The first installment in the series features harm reduction strategies and real-world advice for people playing these types of video games.

Beyond Betting: Part 1


Book a free interactive awareness-raising workshop today!

YGAP workshop options include a variety of offerings to align with the mandate of the gambling education and prevention. The common denominator amongst these tools is the fluidity of the content, always improving to stay relevant and up to date.


What’s At Stake? Gambling Awareness for youth ages 8 to 14


An interactive workshop aimed to encourage youth to explore the topic of gambling while determining the differences between playing games and gambling. Youth experience the consequences of winning and losing, experiment with probability, identify risks associated with gambling and learn how to stay safe and make informed decisions. 60 to 90 minutes

What’s At Stake? Gambling Awareness for youth ages 15 to 24


An interactive workshop that encourages participants to explore the concept of gambling through investigation into odds and randomness and the impact they have on winning and losing. Individuals learn about the various traditional and new forms of gambling, while gaining relevant knowledge in relation to harm reduction and making informed and healthy choices. 60 to 90 minutes

Betting $ense: Financial Literacy for youth ages 9 to 14


The Betting $ense workshop use an age-appropriate style, aimed to increase students’ awareness of the risks involved in gambling and the importance of making informed financial decisions. Through a series of activities, students will be invited to explore personal finances, budgeting and money management. 60 to 90 minutes.

Betting $ense: Financial Literacy for youth ages 15 to 24


Through a series of activities and discussions, participants explore the fundamentals of financial literacy, budgeting, spending, borrowing and saving as they relate to gambling. The Betting $ense workshop aims to enhance participants’ awareness of the financial risks and implications of gambling and dispel myths about money and gambling. It invites participants to apply informed decision making and critical thinking skills in games of chance and explore the concepts of needs vs. wants, comparison shopping and being a wise consumer as they relate to responsible gambling. 60 to 90 minutes

Game-Bling: When Gaming Meets Gambling - Technology for youth ages 11 to 14


An interactive workshop that explores the blurred boundaries between online gaming and gambling. Through interactive games, participants explore the connections between technology and gaming/gambling, risks associated with online gaming as well as strategies to make safe and healthy decisions when dealing with this rapidly expanding industry. 60 to 90 minutes

Game-Bling: When Gaming Meets Gambling - for youth ages 15 to 24


The Game-bling workshop aims to develop and enhance critical thinking by exploring the impact of technology on the gambling market, the blurred lines between gaming and gambling and underage ‘gambling’ opportunities (e-sports, fantasy sports, ‘gambling’ in videogames, skin betting, etc.). In this workshop, warning signs of problematic behaviors including excessive video gaming, technology use, social gaming and gambling are discussed. Harm reduction strategies and support resources are provided. 60 to 90 minutes

Media Impact: Media Literacy for youth ages 11 to 14


This media literacy workshop aims to enhance critical and creative abilities in relationship to the media. This multimedia workshop provides opportunity to view, analyze and discuss a wide variety of media text.

Media Impact: Media Literacy for youth ages 15 to 18


The Media Literacy Workshop aims to develop/enhance critical thinking in relation to the media and advertisements. The workshop explores marketing techniques and a wide variety of media content, including gambling advertisements and invites participants to question the objective and impact of media content and advertisements. 60 to 90 minutes

Play It Safe! Health & Physical Education for youth ages 8 to 14


Through a variety of physical activity and interactive games, this workshop aims at teaching positive decision making and healthy living skills focusing on youth gambling and related issues. This presentation is to be conducted in a gymnasium or outside on a grass field. 60 to 90 minutes

Stigma and Gambling: for youth ages 15 to 24


This workshop is designed to address the stigma surrounding problem gambling and its consequences. It explores the myths, misconceptions, assumptions and feelings towards people experiencing problems with gambling and the impact of stigma on help seeking behaviors. The stigma and Gambling Addiction is a module aiming at lowering public stigma and increasing positive attitudes towards treatment by addressing the nature of problem gambling as an addiction and facilitating discussions on language, attitudes and behaviors towards people with gambling problems as well as ways we can help to break stigma and support recovery. 60 to 90 minutes

Prevention Begins with Awareness: Workshop designed for parents, teachers, and adults involved in young people’s lives


Learn more about the changing world of gambling and the risk to young people. Youth today are growing up in a society where gambling is legalized, easily accessible, actively promoted, glamourized and generally presented as harmless entertainment. We offer 60 to 90 minute workshops for the following topics:

  • What’s At Stake? Gambling Awareness
  • Betting $ense: Financial Literacy
  • Media Impact: Media Literacy
  • Game-Bling: When Gaming Meets Gambling
  • Stigma and problem Gambling

Want to be more involved?

In addition to awareness raising workshops, YGAP provides other opportunities for youth and community members to become more involved by offering:


Youth Engagement Initiatives


Each year, Youth Outreach Workers facilitate youth driven initiatives to promote youth expression and community action in regards to gambling awareness. Youth driven initiatives are key in promoting youth expression and community action related to youth gambling. With a very impactful peer-to-peer model, Youth Engagement Initiatives have become one of the staple elements of YGAP over the years. Do you work with a group that would benefit from a Youth Engagement Project? Contact the Local Youth Outreach Worker in your area for more information!

Community Involvement Events


YGAP Community Involvement Events are designed to promote community awareness and involvement in issues related to gambling. Partnerships and collaboration with community organizations to plan and implement new and exciting event designed to promote community awareness and involvement regarding youth gambling issues are included in each of the YGAP sites. For more information on Community Involvement events in your area or to discuss partnering with YGAP please contact the local Youth Outreach Worker in your area.

Community Health Fairs/Events


YGAP is invited to participate in various community events and school fairs. These events allow YGAP to increase community awareness of youth gambling and harm reduction. We create interactive booths to deliver accurate information to the community. Please contact the YGAP Youth Outreach Worker in your area if you’d like to invite YGAP to a health fair or event!

Advisory Committee


YGAP Advisory Committee is an integral part of YGAP across the province. Committee members are volunteers who work cooperatively with YGAP by offering advice on areas such as potential networking and partnership opportunities, information about the local community and gambling trends, feedback on activities to be included in workshops, and helping to raise awareness of the program in the community. Committees are typically made up of youth service providers, addiction and mental health service providers, educators, credit counselors, and youth. What are the benefits of participating as an YGAP Advisory Committee Member?

  • Committee members have the opportunity to network and share resources that benefit their agency, clients and community as a whole
  • Committee members have the opportunity for professional collaboration and goal sharing
  • Committee members have the opportunity to discuss community issues related to youth and brainstorm action items
If you are interested in becoming a member please contact your local YGAP Youth Outreach Worker.

Why Talk to Youth About Gambling?

  • 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. In fact, prevalence 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 per cent of all adolescents surveyed reported that they had gambled money or something of value. Popular gambling activities included: a dare or challenge (22 per cent), instant-win or scratch tickets (14 per cent), games of skill, such as pool or darts (12 per cent), offline sports pools (9 per cent), and cards, such as poker and black jack (9 per cent).Technology has made gambling accessible to youth everywhere
  • Nearly 10 per cent of teens said they had gambled online in the past three months.
  • 36 per cent of online gambling teens had a score indicating a potential problem (versus eight per cent for offline gamblers).
  • Youth need to understand and know their choices before facing risky situations.
  • 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.
  • Suicide attempts for individuals impacted by problem gambling occur at twice the rate of other addictions.

Need more information?

For more information, please visit www.youthbet.com. Download the YGAP program brochure. (PDF). To learn more about YMCA Youth programs call 416-928-9622 or 1-800-223-8024 or contact us at memberservices@ymcagta.org

Additional Resources

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Youth Leadership Development

Teen Nights

Teen Nights

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