When it comes to the lottery, I’m just biding my time

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bought your scratch-off ticket yet? I must confess I haven’t.

It’s not that I’m against the lottery. I’ve always been for it in Mississippi. I’ve always said we needed one here to keep the money that was going across the Mississippi River into Louisiana.

Like every other resident — or most residents — in the state, I’ve played the Louisiana Lottery for years. Every time we traveled back to Louisiana, a stop at a lottery site was mandatory, either when we arrived in the state or as we were leaving the state on the return trip home. Sometimes it was both.

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We still cross the Mississippi River to Detla, La. to get Lotto, Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, because they’re not yet sold here, and each trip over the water merited a scratch-off.

I’ve always had better luck with scratch-offs than Powerball, Lotto or any of the “big win” tickets that could allow me to retire and live comfortably for the rest of my life if the right sequence of numbers roll out, but for some reason, playing the scratch offs is more fun, and they have an immediate impact. I’ve bought lunches, gas, dinners and large iced teas at a fast food outlet with my winnings from scratch-offs.

I’ve already read where some folks have hit it big with the scratch-offs, and that’s good; the articles about people winning five-figure jackpots is a good indication that what some people believe is impossible can actually come to pass; that they can win their share of the pot with a small investment.

Of course, some people may have to invest more to win than others, but that’s what makes it interesting. It’s like Forest Gump’s analogy of a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

Of course, all the money raised by the lottery, our politicians say, will go to education and roads, and they’ve made some predictions about how much will be divided between roads and education. But the skeptic in me, acquired through years of covering local government and politics in Louisiana, wonders about that.

Right now, the money’s rolling in, and the coffers are filling up, but I wonder what will happen in a few years when the “new” wears off and folks aren’t running to get a ticket or wait until jackpots total nine to 10 figures before spending a few bucks. Will those projections made now still hold?

But so much for speculation. I’ve checked the state lottery’s website, and there’s a bunch of lottery outlets all over town, including a couple near where I live. I think it’s time I decided to get ready and invest in my retirement by sinking a few bucks locally. I’ve already picked out my dream car, the location of my summer home and where I’m going on my first real vacation in many years.

The only thing holding me back is the start of the Powerball, Lotto and Mega Millions ticket sales in the state and the date of my retirement once I hit it big.

 

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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