When Will Mississippi Join Powerball?
Mississippi is on the brink of becoming the latest jurisdiction to sell Powerball tickets, as the pieces come together for the state’s new lottery. Find out just how close Mississippi is to offering the game and what date it could begin.
Lawmakers passed a bill in the Magnolia State last August, approving plans for a lottery following years of debate. It was described as a ‘historic day’ by Governor Phil Bryant, and the building blocks have gradually been put in place over the last few months.
A State Lottery Board was quickly appointed and a set of ethics rules adopted to ensure that any games will be safe, secure and transparent. Now, a prospective launch date has been mooted by Gerard Gilbert, the vice-chairman of the newly-formed Mississippi Lottery Corporation.
He suggested earlier in the week that the lottery could be up and running on November 1, selling scratch-off tickets and entries for multi-state games such as Powerball and Mega Millions. Speaking again on Wednesday, he revised that prediction to say that scratch-offs should be available by the start of December, with draw-based games operational by the first quarter of 2020.
Mississippi Lottery’s New President
To ensure the process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible, the Mississippi Lottery has hired an executive with considerable experience to be its first president. Thomas N. Shaheen has been given the role, having previously worked as the executive director of the North Carolina Lottery and the chief executive officer of the New Mexico Lottery.
He has also been president of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, and has been involved with the Georgia, Texas and Florida lotteries when they were being set up. Shaheen was preferred to around 20 other applicants and is set to receive a salary of around $225,000 plus any performance-related bonuses.
An estimated 1,500 retailers are expected to apply to sell lottery tickets, and background checks will need to be carried out on each one before they can be authorized. When tickets do go on sale, the proceeds will be used to improve the condition of the state’s roads and bridges, as well as supporting public education.
“We'll work at a pace to get it started off as quickly as possible because the sooner we get started, the more money that is for roads and bridges,” said Shaheen, who echoed Gilbert’s view that multi-state games were likely to be available next year, as Mississippi has to apply to offer Powerball. “The quicker we get those vendors on board, the quicker we can get sales started,” he added.
There are already 47 jurisdictions which offer Powerball, while Alabama may not be far behind after a lottery bill was approved by the state senate late last month. Utah, Nevada, Hawaii and Alaska are the only other states which do not sell Powerball tickets.
As more states join Powerball, it means that the pool of players increases and more tickets are likely to be sold for each drawing, which in turn may lead to jackpots growing even more quickly.
Page Last Updated: 18/12/2019 14:50:38