JACKSON, Miss.—For the first time, Mississippi residents can purchase lottery tickets in the state. Mississippi had been one of six states without a lottery, WCTI-TV/Associated Press reports. Now only Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah remain lottery-free.
Roughly 1,200 convenience stores and other retailers are licensed to sell the tickets, which state Rep. Alyce Clarke had been supporting for years. “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 after buying a ceremonial first ticket at a local RaceWay. “Sometimes you have to try and try and try again.”
Mississippi has earmarked lottery revenue to fund its infrastructure and road maintenance for the first $80 million each year, with the remaining going to education. The Mississippi Lottery Corporation approved four games, with new games being introduced in the coming weeks. Powerball and Mega Millions will be available starting January 30.
“People have been going to the state lines [to Louisiana] 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,” said Hiren Bhakta, who owns a Stop & Go Foodmart. “We can get everything here in Mississippi.”