The Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law, which allows a lottery in Mississippi, was passed by the Mississippi State Legislature during a special session Aug. 31, 2018. Retailers in the state began selling scratch-off games Nov. 25, 2019.
Meg Annison, director of communications for the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, said a person must be 21 years or older to participate in the lottery games. Participants can play various scratch-off games for a chance to win.
In scratch-off games, players scratch off numbers and match their numbers to the winning numbers. Some of the scratch-off games have themes including Mississippi Blues and holidays. The Mississippi lottery will introduce new games in the future.
Annison said Mississippians can go to a map on the Mississippi Lottery Corporation’s website to find a retailer near them. There are thousands of retailers across the state.
“The retailers are typically authorized convenience stores, gas stations and grocery stores, but there are some unique locations including a barbershop in Tupelo,” Annison said.
The barbershop called Gameday Haircuts & Spa gives their clients the opportunity to buy lottery tickets at their shop.
Any retailers interested in becoming authorized retailers can apply by calling the Lottery’s Retailer Services number or filling out a retailer application on the Mississippi Lottery Corporation’s website. Approved retailers receive a 6% commission on their ticket sales.
Tina Hurley, a Mississippi resident from Pascagoula, has won small prizes from scratch-off games. She buys her winning games from convenience stores in Pascagoula.
Hurley said she thinks the lottery can help the state of Mississippi in many ways and allows for Mississippi residents to play fun games.
Communications Director Annison said winners can claim their prizes in several ways.
“Prizes up to $599 are paid out at any approved retailer,” Annison said. “Prizes that are $600 to $99,999 can be mailed in or brought to the Mississippi Lottery Corporation’s headquarters in Flowood, Mississippi.”
A scratch-off ticket winner must claim their prize within 90 days. For multi-state drawings, winners must claim their prize within 180 days.
Annison said the lottery can help the state in several ways. Legislators decided that net proceeds up to $80 million will go toward infrastructure needs, such as projects for roads and bridges. The $80 million going to infrastructure will only last for 10 years. After 10 years, $80 million will go toward general funds.
Proceeds over $80 million will go toward the education enhancement fund which includes programs like pre-kindergarten and various school supplies for classrooms.
Annison said starting on Thursday, Mississippi will start selling multi-state lottery tickets like Powerball and Mega Millions. Powerball drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Mega Millions drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays.
“This is a giant jackpot that can get people really amped up,” Annison said. “Any approved retailer who is trained and currently selling will be able to sell the Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.”
According to the Mississippi Lottery Corporation’s website, fake lottery scams are common, and players should be wary of suspicious activity. Players will not hear from the Mississippi Lottery until after they claim their prize. A winner will never be asked to pay taxes on a prize because taxes are paid before a winner receives his or her prize.
The website states if someone receives information saying they won a lottery in another country, that is a scam because lotteries from other countries are not allowed in the United States.
If someone thinks they are being scammed by someone posing as the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, they can contact the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at (601) 359-4230.