JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Morgyn Taylor of Eldon, MO, a senior at Eldon 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. Taylor will receive a $1,500 scholarship towards tuition at Missouri State University in Springfield, where she plans to double major in marketing and fashion merchandising.
Taylor created an essay and poster titled “Mental Issues With Underage Gambling” that focuses on the mental and physical impact that underage gambling can have on adolescents, including depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
“Teenagers are not ready to make life decisions because their brains are not fully developed until their 20s,” said Taylor. “Most teens partake in online gambling because it’s easy to access, and feels more like a game.”
Taylor saw first-hand how underage gambling dramatically impacted a friend’s life. According to Taylor, he experienced anxiety, depression, weight loss and mood swings through a cycle of losing money and then gambling compulsively to try to get back the “high” from winning.
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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