Merchants all over Hancock County, Pass Christian and DeLisle were preparing Friday for an onslaught of new business on Monday when the first Mississippi Lottery scratch-off tickets go on sale.
"Monday, Nov. 25 is the beginning of our state lottery," state Sen. Philip Moran -- who authored the Lottery bill ultimately signed by Gov. Phil Bryant -- said Friday. "What a great Christmas gift for the people of Mississippi. It's been a long effort -- it took four years to get this thing passed. It'll be neat to be able to just go somewhere locally and buy your tickets and not have to travel to Louisiana.
"We have lost hundreds of millions of dollars over the years," he said, since Mississippi residents have always had to cross state lines in order to buy their tickets.
"Now, you can still buy your ticket wherever you want," Moran said, "but wherever you buy your ticket, if it's in your home town, your city or county gets to use that (sales tax) money. That's a good thing -- it gets returned to the community, where your municipality or your county will be able to use that money for roads, bridges, infrastructure, whatever needs to be done."
Currently, only scratch-off tickets will be available for sale in Mississippi, Moran said, but Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets will begin to go on sale on Jan. 30, 2020.
For more on the Mississippi Lottery, go to www.mslotteryhome.com.