Betting On Our Future (BOOF)
Betting on Our Future (BOOF) is a youth-driven problem gambling awareness campaign supported by the California Friday Night Live Partnership through a grant from the California Office of Problem Gambling.
The Betting on Our Future media campaign is intended to empower young people to raise awareness of problem gambling and cause change in their communities. Students are responsible for scripting, coordinating, and producing live dramatic performances, video projects, and public service announcements to communicate the risks and signs of problem gambling among youth. Young people also have the opportunity to create gambling themed artwork to be used in printed publications for parents and other concerned adults to inform them of the warning signs of problem gambling and the resources available to help their families.
Current research shows that parents, educators, and other adults should consider the potential pitfalls of problem gambling among young people. For instance, teen problem gamblers tend to have higher rates of:
- Crime (theft, robbery, embezzlement)
- School problems (e.g., lower grades, truancy, behavior issues)
- Family problems (e.g., withdrawal, behavior issues)
- Peer relationship problems
- Legal and money troubles
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
- Dissociative, “escape” behaviors
- Risk for co-occurring addiction(s), including alcohol and substance abuse
Seeking to obtain youth voice on the emerging issue of problem gambling, California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) along with the Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), engaged youth in focus group discussions regarding their perceptions of problem gambling and its prevalence in their communities. The focus groups found that gambling behavior is common among youth, takes on many forms, and occurs in many places. Participants report that youth gambling is subject to a variety of influences, such as boredom, peer pressure, media exposure, and the thrill of winning money. Most participants seemed to feel that youth are not capable of gambling responsibly and are more likely to develop problems as a result.
The main objective of Betting on Our Future is to empower youth to be advocates of change by raising awareness not only about the risks of problem gambling but also by informing others about existing resources.