Gambling with Grunk

A prevention education campaign.

Gambling while intoxicated is a bad bet.

That is the message RGC’s recent prevention campaign is delivering to Ontario young adults in Kenora, Peterborough and Thunder Bay.

Gambling while intoxicated can lead to impaired decision-making and increased risk-taking (Curran et al., 2002; Welte et al., 2004). The high rates of gambling and related harm that are seen among those 18 to 24 years, as well as the risky gambling behaviours that go along with playing while intoxicated, increase the importance of communicating the risks of this behaviour among young adults, who are 2-3 times more likely to develop issues with gambling.

The campaign uses a dark humour approach, which we know from RGC research resonates with this target. The campaign was delivered on YouTube which is the second largest platform (coming second only to Netflix) for video content use from our target, with 80% of young adults and teens using YouTube to gain knowledge. Using a digital-first YouTube approach allowed RGC to deliver a bold thumb-stopping campaign outside of traditional forms of communication – often a finger-wagging approach does not break through to a younger audience, where skepticism is high and the time you have to capture their interest is low.

Gambling with Grunk Video Series

A YouTube video gambling series titled “Gambling with Grunk” was created to demonstrate the various consequences of gambling while intoxicated. The series, hosted by a fictional gambling “influencer” named Grunk, attempts to teach our target how to play popular casino games. Through a series of short instructional videos, Grunk demonstrates the relationship, emotional and financial risks that can come from gambling while intoxicated.

Across the video series, Grunk inadvertently demonstrates all the negative consequences of gambling intoxicated, including playing longer than planned (relationships and obligations suffer), placing larger bets, and losing more money than intended (finances and health suffers) (Welte et al., 2004). Every video is balanced with a message that gambling drunk or high is always a bad bet.

To extend the reach of the campaign, a Twitter profile was created to reach out to other gambling influencers and encourage people to view his YouTube series.

Campaign Evaluation

A comprehensive evaluation will be conducted to determine the reach and impact of the campaign.

  • Social media statistics on Twitter and Facebook will be collected from RGC, public health units and partners who share the Grunk Campaign. This includes: engagement rate, likes, comments and shares.
  • Reach, impressions delivered and video completion rates will be collected on sponsored YouTube episodes.
  • An online survey of 300 18-24 year-olds in the province will be conducted to determine our target audience’s opinions of the campaign and if it has any impact on their thoughts or intended actions around gambling and gambling while intoxicated.



The “Gambling with Grunk” prevention education campaign was created by RGC and our agency partner Zulu Alpa Kilo. Funding for the campaign was received through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) Education, Training, and Awareness Fund.