JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippians will no longer have to make the trip to Memphis to get scratch off lottery tickets.
Starting Monday, scratch off tickets are offered at certain stores in Mississippi. Nearly 1,200 convenience stores and other sites have been approved as retailers.
The Valero store at Stateline and Main in Southaven opened a half-hour early Monday morning so customers could start playing the lottery. By 5:30 the store sold about 200 scratch-off tickets.
Not everyone in Mississippi is selling these scratch off tickets, but the Mississippi Lottery says they have installed equipment and trained people at 1,200 stores across the state
Stores selling the scratch-off tickets say this is good for business and good for the state of Mississippi.
“I knew we were going to get Memphis customers,” Rebecca Cooley said. “They come anyway for our gas because it’s cheaper so, I knew when we got the lottery we were going to get some of their lottery customers as well.”
For the first two months, the only scratch-off tickets sold in Mississippi will be for single-state games.
The multistate games Powerball and Mega Millions will be available in Mississippi starting Jan. 30.
Mississippi has been one of six states without a lottery, and it remained that way for decades because of opposition from politically powerful churches.
As the state was forced to close hundreds of unsafe bridges in 2018, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant called lawmakers into special session and asked them to authorize a lottery to generate money. The first $80 million a year will go to highways, and revenue after that will go to education.
Democratic state Rep. Alyce Clarke of Jackson pushed for years to create a lottery. The Mississippi Lottery Corporation is having an event where Clarke will buy the ceremonial first ticket Monday morning at a convenience store in south Jackson.
A full list of authorized scratch off locations is available here.