Mississippi’s state lottery is set to launch in November 2019 and will have a full slate of games available by early 2020. The first games to launch will be scratch-offs and they will be followed by a range of draw games, including Mega Millions and Powerball.
The Magnolia State had previously been one of the few locations where it was not possible to play any type of lottery, until a bill was passed in August 2018 that paved the way for the establishment of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation (MLC).
Mississippi Lottery Start Date
The first Mississippi Lottery games will be available from November 25th 2019 and retailers have been applying for licenses to sell lottery products over the past few months. Between 1,500 and 1,700 retailers are expected to offer scratch-offs initially, but the MLC has stated that it wants as many retailers as possible selling tickets.
You will primarily find these scratch-offs in convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, supermarkets, tobacco/beer stores and licensed casinos.
MS Lottery Games
When the draw games begin in 2020, there will be a wide range of lotteries to enjoy. Powerball and Mega Millions will both be offered, along with Lotto America and Cash 4 Life. The Mississippi Lottery Corporation has also revealed that a three-digit game, a four-digit game and a five-digit game will also be launched. This catalogue of games will rival those offered by neighboring states Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee, which have attracted players from Mississippi for years.
The state lottery is expected to boost Mississippi’s economy significantly. Estimates have been put forward that up to $40 million could be netted in the first year of the lottery, with $80 million in the second year and $100 million in year three. These lottery proceeds have been earmarked for state roads and bridges to match federal funding for the next ten years. Further revenue over $80 million would then go to the Education Enhancement Fund.
So why is Mississippi only just getting a lottery?
- Religious opinion counts in the Bible Belt of America, so when church groups collectively apply their pressure against something they object to, such as gambling, then you have a problem.
- The existing casinos in the state have been extremely successful with riverboat tourism for gamblers, and as such these casinos object strongly to the competition that lotteries would pit against them.
- Lawmakers have been happy with the status quo because they cannot afford to upset either the religious groups in the state for fear of being voted out of office, or upsetting the casino industry for fear of having organisations withhold monies and support.
A brief history of lotteries in Mississippi...
The idea of a state lottery in Mississippi had been debated for many years before the State Senate finally voted 58-54 in August 2018 in favor of creating a bill that would legalize lotteries. The bill was named the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Act, in honor of Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, who continually pushed for a bill of this kind for nearly 20 years. There was a referendum in 1992 in which a majority vote by Mississippi residents approved reversing a state ban on lotteries, but lawmakers would never go ahead with it.
Find a brief history below which further outlines the long-running saga of the opposition to lotteries in Mississippi.
- Mississippi allowed lotteries in the 19th century in order to fund education.
- Lotteries went out of fashion during the religious revival of the Second Great Awakening that swept through the country during the 19th century.
- Lotteries made a comeback after the civil war as a vital source of funding for various projects.
- In 1867 the legislature granted the Mississippi Agricultural and Manufacturing Aid Society a 25-year contract to run lotteries in order to raise funds for rebuilding efforts and war debts after the civil war. This would have been done by paying the state fixed annual payments as well as a cut of the sale of lottery tickets.
- In 1868, however, lotteries were outlawed and in 1874 John Stone and other members of the society were arrested for running an illegal lottery. In 1880 the US Supreme court ruled in favor of the state, and lotteries remained banned.
- The Mississippi constitution was rewritten in 1890 with the ban on lotteries continuing. This remained unchanged for a century.
- In 1990 Ray Mabus attempted to have the constitution amended to allow lotteries to be operated in order to fund state schooling. His attempt ultimately failed.
- In 1992 the constitutional repeal which Mabus had fought for was passed. It did not in itself allow a lottery to be established but it made it legal for the state of Mississippi to pass a bill which would authorize a lottery.
- When casinos were legalized in 1990 they soon became the state’s fastest growing industry, and in doing so became a powerful opponent to lotteries as well as an important contributor of funding to state coffers.
- Opposition from churches, casinos and other opposition groups to lotteries remained strong until August 2018, when a lottery bill went before the Senate and finally passed.