Lawmakers and appointed leaders of the State Lottery Board have been working closely to get the Mississippi Lottery player-ready for late 2019, since it was approved in August 2018. Governor Phil Bryant, who was responsible for the initial state lottery bill, is poised to sign off on a new President for the lottery’s board of directors, after which concrete plans can be made to roll out tickets and train retailers. Gibert said the board expects 1,200 to 1,500 retailers to sell lottery products at launch.
Where previous announcements regarding the launch have outlined a roll-out of ticket sales, starting with scratch-offs, the November 1st date will see both scratch-offs and tickets for draw games available for purchase from the same launch date. Lottery tickets available from November 1st will include the Mississippi state lottery draw and multi-state games Powerball and Mega Millions.
Mississippi Lottery Timeline
- August 27, 2018: Governor Phil Bryant tables a bill proposing a state lottery in Mississippi. It is denied by a majority of six votes.
- August 28, 2018: A special session is called, for a second vote on the lottery bill. It is approved by a majority of two votes.
- September, 2018: Gov. Bryant suggests that the state’s new lottery could be up and running by January 2019, as he announces plans to facilitate the forming of a Mississippi Lottery Corporation.
- October, 2018: Gov. Bryant appoints a five-person committee to a state lottery board, tasked with overseeing the formation of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation.
- January, 2018: State lottery board Vice-Chairman Gerard Gibert suggests that the Mississippi Lottery Corporation could be operational as soon as the summer of 2019, with scratch-off cards available immediately and lottery offerings available in late 2019 or early 2020.
- February 20, 2019: A bill is announced proposing that lottery tickets sold in Mississippi be exempt from a seven per cent sales tax.
- February 27th, 2019: The sales tax bill is killed, after a deadline for voting on it are missed by the Senate. State Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson claims that lottery tickets are automatically exempt from sales tax; the tax can only apply to tangible property, where lottery tickets are legally considered evidence of a bet.
- April 16th, 2019: The State Lottery Board, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lottery’s appointed law firm Balch and Bingham, adopt a set of ethics rules to ensure safety, security and transparency for the games involved, and the players.
- May 3rd, 2019: The launch date for the Mississippi Lottery is announced as November 1st; scratch-off tickets and lottery tickets - for the new state lottery, and for MUSL games Powerball and Mega Millions - will be available for purchase from up to 1,500 retailers across the state.
These recent developments are not the Magnolia State’s first brush with adopting a lottery. Mississippi has a rich and chequered history with lottery games, dating back to July 1803; to learn more about Mississippi’s lottery history, visit our timeline.