The Mississippi Lottery launched on November 25th 2019 when scratch-off tickets went on sale across the state. Draw games soon followed, with ticket sales for Mega Millions and Powerball starting on January 30th 2020 - more games are due to launch in the future.
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 went on sale on Monday November 25th 2019. Retailers applied for licenses to sell lottery products over the months leading up to the launch and when tickets went on sale there were around 1,000 retailers registered to sell lottery products. This number is expected to grow to between 1,500 and 1,700 retailers in the short term but the MLC has stated that it wants as many 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
Powerball and Mega Millions were the first draw games to be offered in Mississippi, allowing residents to play the two biggest lotteries in the U.S. without having to travel to neighboring states. Lotto America and Cash 4 Life are expected to follow, along with an unspecified three-digit game, a four-digit game and a five-digit game. The names and other information about these games have not been released yet. A state-specific Lotto game is also likely to be in the pipeline.
Until more information is available, please check the pages below for a general overview on the type of games offered by neighboring states. The pages will be updated as soon as more details are made public.
- Pick 3: A daily draw game offering a top prize of $500 and a choice of play styles and wagers.
- Pick 4: This exciting game has a top prize of $5,000 with a variety of play styles, wagers and odds.
- Lotto: For just $1, get a chance at jackpot that starts at $250,000 and rolls over until it's won.
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.
- The Mississippi Lottery officially launched on November 25th 2019, offering a range of scratch-off games.
- Powerball and Mega Millions were the first draw games to be available in Mississippi when ticket sales started on January 30th 2020.