Scratch-offs to launch first
The formation of a state lottery in Mississippi is still in the planning stages, but Gibert revealed that the Mississippi Lottery Corporation should be operational as soon as summer of this year, with scratch-offs being the first products to launch in the state. Draw games such as Powerball and Mega Millions should follow later in the year or by early 2020 at the latest.
Draw games like these, Gibert explained, are much more complicated to set up. This is partly because of the scale of the games - Mississippi will have to slot in with the many other states that offer Powerball and Mega Millions - but also because of the infrastructure that needs to be in place to operate them.
This includes not only the equipment needed to sell the products but all the rules and regulations required for the games to be conducted fairly and transparently. Entities such as the Multi-State Lottery Association set a lot of these rules, but everything from how to buy tickets to claiming prizes must be figured out by the Mississippi Lottery Corporation before the first winning number is drawn.
Mississippi’s recently-passed legislation states that $80 million of the lottery’s annual revenue must go to a state highway fund to repair the roads and bridges that have fallen into disrepair in recent decades. Any revenue over that amount will be transferred to the Education Enhancement Fund. After the first 10 years of the lottery’s operation, the initial $80 million will be transferred to the General Fund, with the remaining revenue still going to education.
Gibert elaborated on these figures and said that the lottery could generate between $150 million and $250 million every year. It is expected that between $80 million and $110 million of this will be left as net proceeds after prize payments and costs are deducted, and it is this money that will fund the state services mentioned above.
He also mentioned that lottery tickets will be available statewide - so there will be no counties or municipalities excluded - with between 2,000 and 2,500 retailers, typically convenience stores, selling lottery products.