Jackpot! Lottery tickets on sale for 1st time in Mississippi

Lottery players purchased their tickets at Gameday Haircuts & Spa in Tupelo. | Photo Date: Nov. 25, 2019

Monday is a historic day for Mississippi as the state began its lottery.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 10:56 AM
Updated: Nov 25, 2019 1:35 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi residents don’t have to leave the state to buy lottery tickets anymore.

Tickets went on sale Monday. The tickets are available in roughly 1,200 convenience stores and other sites.

Democratic state Rep. Alyce Clarke of Jackson has been pushing for years to bring a lottery to Mississippi. She bought a ceremonial first ticket at a RaceWay store and gas station in south Jackson.

Open this link to find retailers.

“It feels great. Finally, it becomes a reality. And it just goes to show you what happens if you don’t give up,” Clarke said. “Sometimes you have to try and try and try again.”

For decades Mississippi was one of only six states without a lottery. There was strong opposition from politically powerful churches. People often drove to neighboring states such as Louisiana to buy tickets there.

But in 2018, lawmakers authorized a lottery as a way to finance road maintenance and infrastructure needs. At the time, the state had been forced to close hundreds of unsafe bridges. For the first ten years, the first $80 million a year from lottery revenue will go to infrastructure needs. After the $80 million benchmark is hit, the rest goes to education. After the ten year period is over, the first $80 million will go to the state’s general fund with the remainder continuing to go toward education.

Clarke had been pushing for all the money to go to education. She said she was disappointed that all the money wasn’t going to education but that the roads and bridges also needed investment.

Right now, people can play four different types of games, and the Mississippi Lottery Corporation plans to introduce new games in the coming weeks. On January 30, tickets for both Mega Millions and Powerball will go on sale. Winners can remain anonymous.

Open this link to see the games.

By 7 a.m. Monday morning — two hours after tickets went on sale — the state had made $300,000 from its share of the ticket sales, said Meg Annison, the lottery’s spokeswoman.

At the Stop & Go Foodmart in Picayune, owner Hiren Bhakta wasn’t yet selling tickets on Monday morning but was planning to have his terminal up and running by the end of the day.

He said people have been talking about the sales for weeks. In this corner of southwestern Mississippi, residents wanting to buy lottery tickets can easily pop across the border to towns in Louisiana like Pearl River and buy tickets there. Bhakta hopes that traffic will now stay in Mississippi.

“People have been going to the state lines to get tickets, so they’ve heard about it and are excited about how we don’t have to go to the state line anymore,” he said. “We can get everything here in Mississippi.”

At the A One Stop in Brookhaven, Mississippi, cashier Tonya McCalup said ticket sales have been going well. By around 8 a.m. Monday she’d had two customers purchase winning tickets — one for $32 and another for $2. She said she’s thinking about buying some tickets as well: “I’m going to start pressing my luck.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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