YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) tackles youth gambling with launch of new game and website

27 April 2023

YGAP aims to educate youth on gambling risks with new game Jumping Jamboree

Toronto – April 27, 2023 – Today, the YMCA of Greater Toronto launched Jumping Jamboree, as part of the YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP). Jumping Jamboree is a free online game that combines skills and chance to demonstrate how the lines between gaming and gambling can be blurred. YGAP also launched a new website to host the game, provide information on the changing landscape of youth gambling and ways young people gamble as well as additional resources like gambling awareness workshops and webinars for youth and adults involved in youth’s lives.

Jumping Jamboree aims to provide young people an interactive way to recognize the dangers of gambling and make informed decisions. The game and website will educate youth about stigma and misconceptions associated with gambling, increase awareness of potential harms to health and financial well-being, and encourage informed decision-making.

While gambling is considered an adult activity, youth have increased access to resources. YGAP considers gambling any activity that requires risking something of value and not knowing if you’ll win or lose, despite skill or practice. Youth gambling might involve placing bets on dares or challenges, buying raffle tickets, playing claw machines, unlocking loot boxes in video and social media games, or sports betting with friends during regular and playoff seasons.

“Jumping Jamboree is a unique and engaging way for us to reach youth through social channels they actually use,” says Mina Hazar, Manager of YGAP at the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “By providing a fun and educational experience, we want to raise awareness about some of the risks associated with gambling in loot box mechanisms available to youth in the form of card packs, commonly found in sports video games, and encourage young people to make informed decisions about their own health, social, and financial well-being."

According to 2019 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey and 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey, Ontario youth aged 14 to 18 are more likely to develop a severe gambling problem compared to adults. In light of increased youth gambling and exposure due to easy accessibility, extensive variety of games and online marketing, the YGAP is actively providing continued access to additional resources for youth.

Jumping Jamboree asks youth to play a normal video game with a series of obstacle courses, collecting coins that can be wagered/bet to unlock virtual items from a loot box, operated by a slot machine-style game. After the game, players are brought to the debriefing section of the game to learn about the differences between skill- and chance-based activities, the risks of combining skill and chance in video games, and how to stay safe if they choose to engage in gambling and gaming.

The YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) is a free service, funded by Government of Ontario. It's designed to address the stigma and misconceptions commonly associated with gambling, increase awareness of potential gambling harms towards health, social and financial well-being, and promote informed decision-making.

Play the Jumping Jamboree game at knowthegameygap.org, and visit the new YGAP website at knowthegameygap.org/youth-gambling.

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities. For 170 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided opportunities for people to shine through a variety of programs and services including health and fitness, licensed child care, camps, employment and immigrant services, education and training, and services for youth, families and seniors. Promoting equity and boosting well-being across more than 440 locations in the Greater Toronto Area, the Y is a leading charity that helps everyone shine. For more information visit https://ymcagta.org.