JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI – Nathalie Moulder, a senior at Tipton 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.
Moulder will receive a $1,500 scholarship for tuition at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. She plans to study elementary education and hopes to teach first grade after graduation.
Moulder wrote an article about the issues of underage gambling, which was published on the Cardinal Chronicle page of The Tipton Times. Many of her peers picked up the newspaper that week to read her article, and underage gambling became a topic of discussion among students in her English class.
“Before doing this project, I didn’t really understand that gambling young can turn into an addiction,” said Moulder. “I didn’t think of it as something that could affect you like alcohol does.”
In her article, Moulder pointed out that “gambling is anything you consider betting money over. It can range from pool or darts to lottery and bingo.” Although most people would think gambling is all about the money, she wrote, other factors influence teenagers to gamble, including thousands of websites that offer free gambling as games for children.
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.