Casinos Benefit Missouri
Casinos Benefit Missouri

Sikeston Student Wins Scholarship From Missouri Gaming Association


JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI – Garrett Smith of Sikeston, a senior at Sikeston Public 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. Smith will receive a $1,500 scholarship towards tuition at Harding University, where he plans to major in medical humanities.

Smith wrote an article titled “Underage Gambling: A Losing Hand,” which details the dangers of underage gambling and also promotes the need for students to learn personal finance skills. His article was published as a guest editorial in the school newspaper.

“The idea of betting is not new to many minors,” Smith said. “We grow up hearing things like ‘I’ll bet you.’ A teacher said my article made her think twice about saying ‘How much you wanna bet?’ to kids and teenagers.”

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

#  #  #

Media Contact
Rachel Brown
[email protected]
(314) 961-9772