Lottery not in place — yet — as Mississippians buy their tickets

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mississippians, excited at the chance of becoming a multi-millionaire, once again streamed across the Mississippi River Bridge on Interstate 20 Wednesday venturing into Louisiana to purchase lottery tickets.

Hoping to reap some of the benefits of a lottery and fund much-needed repairs to the state’s roads and bridges, the Mississippi Legislature passed a comprehensive package that included a lottery during an August special session.

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Gov. Phil Bryant signed the legislation in mid-September, but it will take months for the lottery to actually be implemented in Mississippi.

The Mega Millions and Powerball have a combined jackpot of $1 billion before Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing, which was estimated at $345 million — or a one-time cash prize of nearly $200 million.

The prize for Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to more than $900 million and is projected to be the second-largest payout in U.S. lottery history. A lone winner taking the cash lump sum would receive more than $500 million.

Mega Millions announced Tuesday’s jackpot of $667 million would have been a new record for that game. The only larger lottery payout was a Powerball drawing of $1.59 billion in January 2016. Three winners split that prize.

In the parking lot of Delta Discount Wine and Spirits in Delta, Louisiana, several vehicles were parked in the parking lot Wednesday with Mississippi car tags — presumably driven by Mississippians to purchase lottery tickets.

“It’s always a thrill to have both jackpots rolling, but there’s an extra spark now with Mega Millions reaching a new record,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director said in a statement. “Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 coworkers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million jackpot, the game’s fourth-largest.