Casinos Benefit Missouri
Casinos Benefit Missouri

Four Missouri students win scholarships from Missouri Gaming Association in 27th annual Project 21 competition


JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Four Missouri high school seniors have been selected to receive college scholarships through the 27th annual Project 21 Scholarship competition sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association, the statewide professional association of the Missouri casino industry.

The Missouri Gaming Association awards one $2,500 scholarship and three $1,500 scholarships, which are 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. 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.

In Missouri, it’s illegal for persons under the age of 21 to gamble in a casino. 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 February or March, to help educate other students. The scholarships are jointly issued to the winners and the accredited institutions of higher education they select.

Scholarship winner Cailey Cooke of Smithton said, “It was really surprising to me how students and faculty at my school weren’t aware of the prevalence of underage gambling in Missouri and across the country. I was glad to be able to help educate my greater community about the impacts of underage gambling”.

“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 2023 Project 21 winners are:

$2,500 Scholarship Winner
Malachi Joseph Antle of Licking, MO
Licking High School
State Fair Community College
Poster/Essay – Effects of Under-Age Gambling

$1,500 Scholarship Winners
2nd Place
Azariah Smith of St. Joseph, MO
Central High School
College Attending – University of Missouri – Columbia
Poster/Essay – Underage Gambling

2nd Place Tie
Ahna Sinclair of Montgomery City, MO
Montgomery County R-II High School
College Attending – Moberly Area Community College
Poster/Essay – The Hidden Dangers of Underage Gambling

2nd Place Tie
Cailey Cooke of Smithton, MO
Smithton R-IV High School
College Attending – Drury University
Poster/Essay – Prevent Underage Gambling

The Missouri Gaming Association (MGA) is the statewide trade association of the Missouri casino entertainment industry. Founded in 1994, 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


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