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Underage Gambling Awareness Efforts Awarded With Scholarships

Six Missouri high school students won scholarships in the 11th annual Project 21 Scholarship Contest, sponsored by the Missouri Gaming Association (MGA), the professional organization representating casino operators in Missouri.

The awards included two $1,500 and four $1,000 scholarships and were presented to Missouri high school seniors. The students competed for the scholarships by creating an article, poster or video that educated their peers about the dangers of underage gambling.

The winners were:

  • Erik Carlson of Jefferson City, a senior at Jefferson City High School, received a $1,500 scholarship (video);
  • Miranda Guiles of St. Robert, a senior at Waynesville High School, received a $1,500 scholarship (see the image of Miranda Guiles' poster below);
  • Mercedes Baldwin of Mexico, a senior at Mexico Senior High School, received a $1,000 scholarship (click here to read Mercedes Baldwin's essay);
  • Vanessa Moss of Lake Ozark, a senior at School of the Osage, received a $1,000 scholarship (see the image of Vanessa Moss' poster below);
  • Derek Spalding of St. Joseph, a senior at Central High School, received a $1,000 scholarship (video); and
  • Amanda Eisele of Mexico, a senior at Mexico Senior High School, received a $1,000 scholarship (click here to read Amanda Eisele's essay).

Miranda Guiles Poster
Miranda Guiles Poster

Vanessa Moss Poster
Vanessa Moss Poster


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Compulsive gambling is a behavior disorder in which an individual has an uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble. This results in excessive gambling, the outcome of which is loss of time and money.

The gambling reaches the point at which it compromises, disrupts or destroys the gambler's personal life, family relationships or vocational pursuits. The key signs are emotional dependence on gambling, loss of control and interference with normal functioning.