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.

Confirmed Cases: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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