Mississippi will become the 45th state to establish a lottery program Dec. 1 when scratch-off tickets are scheduled to go on sale and a lot more than the hopes and dreams of those who buy tickets is riding on the games’ success.

The Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law, Senate Bill 2001, was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant August 2018. Mississippi will use the first $80 million earned via the new lottery to bolster the state’s transportation system, and any money earned beyond $80 million will be spent on education. Experts have estimated that the lottery will earn less than $100 million, based on the revenue in surrounding states.

In addition to lottery revenue, lawmakers also directed revenue from sports betting to the state’s infrastructure needs. Mississippi Today reported in May that the state had received $25.4 million from sports bets through April.

The Dec. 1 lottery launch will only include scratch-off tickets – with Powerball and other multi-state lottery games expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020 – Mississippi Lottery Corporation president Tom Shaheen told Mississippi Today.

In preparation for the lottery’s launch date, last month the Mississippi Lottery Corporation released requests for companies to submit proposals for both the creation of an online lottery gaming system and an instant ticket lottery game service.

“The [requests for proposals] are focused on identifying vendors with experience in the lottery industry to assist with the provision of online lottery game products and services that allow for the sale of drawing-style lottery games such as Powerball and Mega Millions at retail outlets, and instant scratch-off ticket lottery game services,” the Mississippi Lottery Corporation said in a June news release.

Companies that submit proposals for the online lottery gaming system will be expected to create and operate an informational website, which would include information on the lottery for both players and retailers, Shaheen said.

For instant ticket lottery game services, companies will be expected to print, store and distribute scratch-off tickets to retail locations.

Proposals are due by Aug. 2.

The Mississippi Lottery Corporation is governed by its Board of Directors, five members of which were appointed by the governor with guidance from the state Senate. The Commissioner of the Department of Revenue and Mississippi’s state treasurer make up the rest of the board.

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Grace Marion is an editorial intern for Mississippi Today studying journalism and Spanish at the University of Mississippi. Grace has had bylines in PBS Newshour, the Playwickian, the Bucks County Courier Times, Howler literary magazine, Kaaterskills Basin Literary Magazine, the Write Launch, the Daily Mississippian and Women’s E-News. She was the 2019 recipient of the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation First Amendment Defense Award and a 2018 recipient of the Stamps Foundation scholarship at the University of Mississippi.