You may win the lottery next Monday, Nov. 25, at least on a small scale as tickets go on sale.
That’s the day Mississippi lottery scratch-off games will be available here.
As of an Oct. 31 listing, four businesses in New Albany had been approved to sell the lottery cards.
They’re Blue Sky at 100 Park Plaza Dr., Circle K Store at 505 Hwy. 15 S., Murphy Oil at 103 Chrystal Plaza Dr. and New Albany Gas Mart at 239 Hwy. 30 W.
It is likely that more stores will be added.
Although lottery tickets may be associated more with convenience stores, any business in Mississippi can meet requirements if they are in good standing with the state department of revenue. Even restaurants, salons and retail stores may sell the cards.
The cost to sell lottery tickets is comparatively small: an $80 application fee, $15 extra for each additional store with the same owner and a $20 per week service fee. Equipment, supplies and training are free and the seller gets a six-percent commission on lottery sales in that store.
Presumably, the store will see additional business.
At first, only four games will be available. In each, matching numbers or rows win prizes. Games cost from $1 to $5 each and the odds of winning are about 1 in 4 to 1 in 5, according to the commission.
The really big online games, such as Powerball® and Mega Millions®, as well as future in-state games such as Pick 3 and Pick 4, will not be available until the end of January but will be at all approved businesses then.
Anyone 21 or older can play and one may pay for the lottery card with cash, debit or credit cards. Winning tickets for less than $600 can be redeemed at the business but forms must be used for higher amounts.
Winners may remain anonymous. Taxes are automatically withheld from prizes of $600 or more but it is the winner’s responsibility in lower amounts.
For the first 10 years, lottery collections up to $80 million will be spent on infrastructure such as roads and bridges. After 10 years that money will go into the general fund.
Anything over $80 million will go to the Education Enhancement Fund in perpetuity, which helps fund the Early Childhood Learning Collaborative and Classroom Supply Fund.
Here are some cautions from the state lottery to avoid being the victim of a scam:
- The Mississippi Lottery does not contact the winner. We don’t even know who the winner is until they step forward to claim a prize.
- In online games such as Powerball®, the lottery knows only the winning numbers drawn and where the ticket was sold. The winner must keep their ticket and confirm to lottery officials the numbers on the ticket. If a winner does not step forward with the winning numbers, no one wins the prize.
- A legitimate lottery never asks winners to pay taxes upfront. All federal and state taxes are paid before the lottery releases the money to the winner.
- Lotteries of foreign countries are illegal in the United States. No legitimate foreign lottery sells tickets in the United States. If you have been contacted by a lottery claiming to be affiliated with the government of another country, it is a scam.
- Finally, if you did not buy a ticket, you cannot win a lottery prize. If you have been contacted by a “lottery” claiming you won a prize, but you have never purchased a ticket, it is a scam.
If you think you’re a victim of fraud or attempted fraud by someone posing as a representative of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation, please report it to the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division at (601) 359-4230 or toll-free at (800) 281-4418.
Any retailer interested in selling lottery tickets should fill out the retailer application form or call the Lottery’s Retailer Services number at (855) 652-5688. The caller will be contacted with information about becoming a retailer once an application is received.
J. Lynn West
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