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: 245847

Reported Deaths: 5356
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16717168
Hinds15748310
Harrison12806188
Rankin10334204
Jackson9996172
Lee8666135
Madison7994158
Jones6112108
Forrest5826117
Lauderdale5672174
Lowndes5186106
Lafayette482792
Lamar471162
Washington4700122
Bolivar3915105
Oktibbeha384279
Panola357274
Pontotoc356552
Monroe3463101
Union334755
Warren334692
Marshall333264
Neshoba3310149
Pearl River313891
Leflore2969104
Lincoln290185
Sunflower275868
Tate264759
Alcorn257850
Itawamba257058
Pike254876
Hancock246957
Prentiss240047
Scott238743
Copiah235649
Yazoo235054
Tippah233845
Simpson230166
Leake226764
Coahoma219054
Grenada213970
Covington207171
Marion203371
Adams200065
Winston196260
George195937
Wayne193029
Attala190958
Newton185142
Chickasaw179943
Tishomingo179059
Holmes167467
Jasper163533
Clay155632
Stone138818
Tallahatchie137033
Clarke135160
Calhoun132021
Smith117322
Yalobusha112534
Walthall110536
Noxubee108922
Greene108229
Montgomery107134
Carroll102320
Lawrence99817
Perry98631
Amite95725
Webster90024
Claiborne84125
Tunica84021
Jefferson Davis82925
Humphreys80324
Benton79722
Kemper75620
Quitman6678
Franklin64613
Choctaw59412
Wilkinson57424
Jefferson52019
Sharkey42317
Issaquena1576
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 414583

Reported Deaths: 5945
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson60842887
Mobile29590538
Madison26466183
Tuscaloosa20537267
Montgomery18562304
Shelby18181112
Baldwin15841177
Lee1212097
Morgan12002112
Etowah11488142
Calhoun10863197
Marshall10048106
Houston8405123
Cullman792294
Limestone785073
Elmore7670101
DeKalb757282
St. Clair7417120
Lauderdale740282
Talladega6036108
Walker5834176
Jackson571937
Colbert522270
Blount521980
Autauga507555
Coffee431456
Dale388278
Franklin362145
Chilton332965
Covington325567
Russell318910
Escambia309842
Dallas297988
Chambers275769
Clarke272933
Tallapoosa2591107
Pike245829
Lawrence239345
Marion238649
Winston222535
Bibb211347
Geneva196331
Marengo196329
Pickens195331
Hale172542
Barbour169636
Butler166958
Fayette164026
Cherokee158330
Henry149219
Monroe143617
Randolph137635
Washington135426
Clay124446
Crenshaw117444
Lamar116819
Cleburne115123
Macon111935
Lowndes107935
Wilcox99921
Bullock97128
Perry95019
Conecuh92820
Sumter89126
Greene75123
Coosa59814
Choctaw50824
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