JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI – Bailey Smith, a senior at Lee’s Summit High School, is one of seven students in Missouri to win the 17th annual Project 21 Scholarship competition sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association, the professional organization representing casino operators in Missouri.
Smith will receive a $1,500 scholarship for tuition at a college or university of her choice. She plans to study criminology or sports medicine.
Smith created a poster that was displayed in the high school to educate her peers about the issues of underage gambling.
“Some of my teachers were surprised to learn how many underage people gamble,” said Smith. “I learned that it can become a habit and even an addiction if you start gambling young.”
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.
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 February or March to help educate other students.
The Missouri Gaming Association awards $7,000 in scholarships each year, jointly issued to the winners and the accredited institutions of higher education they select.
“The Missouri casino industry is dedicated to education through awareness efforts like Project 21,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the Missouri Gaming Association. “Young people are influenced by what they hear from their peers, so Project 21 is a great way for students to learn and share information about underage gambling with their classmates.”
The Missouri Gaming Association (MGA) is the statewide trade association of the Missouri casino entertainment industry and its related professionals. Formed in 1993, the Missouri Gaming Association provides research and information to increase awareness of the economic benefits of Missouri’s casinos.
For more information, visit www.missouricasinos.org.