Scratch-offs were the first and only game available for the lottery’s launch and they went on sale at 5:00 a.m. on Monday November 25th. Around 1,200 retailers had the tickets on sale at launch, covering 80 of the state’s 82 counties (Benton County and Issaquena County are currently without a licensed retailer).
The lottery was launched with great fanfare at the Raceway gas station on Mississippi 18 West in Jackson. State Rep. Alyce Clarke, who fought for years to see a lottery in Mississippi and after whom the state’s lottery bill is named, bought the ceremonial first ticket.
“It feels great. Finally, it becomes a reality,” Clarke said. “And it just goes to show you what happens if you don’t give up. Sometimes you have to try and try and try again.”
The long wait for a lottery generated huge excitement in Mississippi ahead of the launch, and that translated into sales, as over $2.5 million was spent on scratch-offs in the first day. That figure met the “best estimate” of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, with approximately $570,000 of the money going to fund state roads and bridges. Retailers receive six percent of the revenue from each ticket they sell.
Mississippi’s First Big Lottery Winner
The biggest winner so far has been David Bond of Wiggins, Stone County. He bought five ‘Triple 7’ scratch-offs for $2 each and came away with a $2,000 prize.
Bond went out hunting that day to start his Thanksgiving week but, in his own words, “Didn’t do no good.” After he got home he sat down at the kitchen table to scratch the tickets he bought earlier that day and was astounded when one of them came up a winner.
“I said, ‘Holy behold! Something’s wrong, this has got 100 all up and down this thing,’" he said. “I went back to the store and let the clerk run it through the machine. The first thing she told me was that I needed to sign the back of this ticket and go to Jackson.”
Bond met with Mississippi Lottery officials to claim his win soon after, reflecting that he didn’t do so well hunting but said he’d “killed a 2,000-pound buck” instead by finding a winning scratch-off.
The Biggest Jackpots Yet to Come In Mississippi
The launch of the Mississippi Lottery is the first big step towards the introduction of draw games in the state. It has already been announced that Powerball and Mega Millions tickets will go on sale on January 30th 2020, with a range of other multi-state and state-specific games to follow.
Mississippi will be the 48th participant of Powerball and the 47th to join Mega Millions. The process of getting these games up and running is a long one, which is why they weren’t available to play when the MS Lottery launched. Mississippi has, however, already joined the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), the organisation responsible for licensing and operating both games, so now it’s just a case of getting the necessary systems in place in the state.
That will include the implementation of the vast network of computer systems and lottery terminals required to sell tickets, as well as retailer training, product design, promotional materials, ticket distribution, and a whole lot more.
The President of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, Thomas Shaheen, enthused about the lottery’s launch and the prospect of the big multi-state games: “We knew Mississippians were ready to play the lottery. We did not foresee the level of their excitement! Next, onto Powerball and Mega Millions!”
You can already find the latest results from both games on the Powerball Numbers and Mega Millions Numbers pages and the payouts in Mississippi will also be available to view from the very first draw.