Mississippi legislature approves establishment of state lottery

Mississippi legislature approves establishment of state lottery

Monday, September 3, 2018 Posted by News Team
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Lawmakers pass bill to set up lottery in special legislative session

Mississippi is to become the 45th US state to operate a lottery after lawmakers approved the move in a special session of the state House of Representatives.

Work can now start on creating a body to oversee the lottery, with the process expected to take up to a year. 

Senate Bill 2001 will create the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, which is to be administered by a five-person board, appointed by Governor Phil Bryant, who will appoint a president to lead the new organisation.

The lottery will offer draw-based and instant win games, and is restricted to selling products via physical retailers. It may not offer its products online, or through video lottery terminals. Only those aged 21 and over may participate in its games.

The net proceeds of the lottery will be deposited into a dedicated fund on a monthly basis once 50 per cent of gross revenue has been paid out in prizes, and 15 per cent used for the operation of the lottery.

The proceeds are to be used to maintain Mississippi’s infrastructure, with the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, with more than 400 bridges closed due to structural problems. This prompted the special session, with establishment of the lottery approved alongside the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernisation Act, which allocates taxes on online shopping to states and counties’ infrastructure budgets. 

This need for investment in infrastructure was a key reason behind the state’s Republican governor Bryant announcing his support for the creation of a lottery. Bryant has until mid-September to sign SB2001 into law, and has already pledged to do so. 

Senate Bill 2001 was approved with 58 votes in favour and 54 against, hours after the Mississippi Senate had passed the bill by a vote of 31 to 17. Initially the House had voted against the bill, with 60 representatives opposed and 54 for, but the legislation was held back and then reconsidered, which saw a number then change their votes.

Mississippi’s decision to approve a state lottery further expands the range of gambling products on offer to its citizens. It has allowed casino gaming since 1992, and last month launched legal sports betting.

There are now just five US states - Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah - that have no lottery

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