Casinos Benefit Missouri
Casinos Benefit Missouri

Kirkwood Student Wins Scholarship From Missouri Gaming Association


JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI – Sophia Masi of Kirkwood, a senior at Kirkwood High School, is one of six students in Missouri to win the 22nd annual Project 21 Scholarship competition sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association, the professional organization representing casino operators in Missouri. Masi will receive a $1,000 scholarship towards tuition at The University of Kansas, where she will major in biology.

Masi produced an article titled “How to play your cards right: don’t gamble underage,” which addresses the dangers of underage gambling, especially online.

“I found it surprising how prevalent, at such a young age, underage gambling is.  Most people think ‘casino’ when you talk about gambling, but online gambling is very accessible to teenage kids through things like fantasy football and March Madness,” Masi said.

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 two $1,500 scholarships and four $1,000 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.”


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

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