JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Tania Contreras of Monett, MO, a senior at Monett High School, is one of six students in Missouri to win the 19th annual Project 21 Scholarship competition sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association, the professional organization representing casino operators in Missouri.
Contreras wrote an article titled “The Most Dangerous Game: The Problem with Teen Gambling.” She will receive a $1,000 Project 21 scholarship towards tuition at Lindenwood University. She plans to study political science and then go to law school.
“It should be common knowledge that Casinos in Missouri close the doors to anyone who is under the age of 21, but underage gambling does not necessarily have to take place in a private clubhouse; it can take place in the form of a bet on a Super Bowl game of an innocent wager on who can the impossible rainbow level on Mario Kart,” said Contreras, whose article was emailed to all students at her high school through the school’s newsletter. “It’s an addiction that results in a constant need to place risky bets on even miniscule life events.”
The Missouri Gaming Association annually awards two $1,500 scholarships and four $1,000 scholarships, jointly issued to the winners and the accredited institutions of higher education they select.
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 scholarship requires students to create essays, posters or videos on the illegality and dangers of underage gambling and publish or display them in their schools to help educate other students.
“We know that young people are influenced by their peers, so Project 21 encourages them to learn about the issues of underage gambling and share that information with their classmates,” said Mike Winter, executive director of the 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 increase awareness of the economic benefits of casinos in Missouri. For more information, visit www.missouricasinos.org.