JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Gwyneth Anne Wood of Clarksburg, MO, a senior at Tipton High School, is one of four students in Missouri to win the 24th annual Project 21 Scholarship competition sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association, the professional organization representing casino operators in Missouri. Wood will receive a $1,500 scholarship towards tuition at the Missouri Southern State University in Joplin where she plans to study dental hygiene.
Wood created an essay and a poster titled “Underage Gambling Can Steal Your Smile,” which focuses on the impact on underage gambling. Her entry highlights that, when kids use gambling as an outlet to reduce stress, they instead end up isolated socially, which increases their stress. Often, their health, grades and friendships suffer as a result.
“Four to seven percent of youth twelve to seventeen years of age have a gambling problem,” says Wood. “These statistics are alarming since no one in this age group can legally gamble.”
The Project 21 Scholarship was developed to educate young people about the issues and dangers of underage gambling. In Missouri, it’s illegal for persons under the age of 21 to gamble in a casino. The competition is open to all Missouri high school seniors planning to attend an institution of higher education in the United States within four years of graduation.
The students were asked to create an essay/article, poster or video aimed at educating their peers about the illegality and dangers of underage gambling. The entries were published or viewed in the students’ high schools in January or February to help educate other students.
The Missouri Gaming Association awards one $2,500 scholarship and three $1,500 scholarships, jointly issued to the winners and the accredited institutions of higher education they select.
“The Missouri casino industry is dedicated to education in our state, both through the education funding from gaming tax revenues and through awareness efforts like Project 21,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “Young people are influenced mostly by what they hear from their peers, so Project 21 encourages students to learn about the issues of underage gambling and to share that information with their classmates.”
ABOUT MISSOURI GAMING ASSOCIATION
The Missouri Gaming Association (MGA) is the statewide trade association of the Missouri casino entertainment industry. Founded in 1993, the Missouri Gaming Association works to promote responsible gaming and increase awareness of the economic benefits of casinos in Missouri. The MGA and its casino company members sponsor year-round responsible gaming programs including the 1-888-BETSOFF crisis line and referral service, Project 21 scholarship competition, and Responsible Gaming Awareness Week. For more information, visit www.missouricasinos.org.
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