JACKSON, Miss. — Amid the lottery fever sweeping the United States, Mississippi took a step closer to starting a state lottery.
The Governor unveiled the first members of the Mississippi lottery board.
Governor Phil Bryant says with revenue leaving the state by millions, the new lottery board is the first of many to keep Mississippians playing the lottery at home.
"We were losing $70 million dollars a year with Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee and Mississippians going across the border and buying lottery tickets," said Governor Phil Bryant.
Bryant is hoping with the new state lottery law revenue will stay in Mississippi.
"I told the legislature you can't stop people from buying lottery tickets you can only make them drive so 70 million dollars is not what we want to lose in a state like Mississippi."
He appointed a 5 member lottery board to hire an executive director to oversee the lottery corporation.
"We got some very good people that are on that board with tremendous character and honesty of qualities of managing businesses of being educators."
Those selected on the board are:
- Philip Chamblee the CEO of the Mississippi Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association,
- Kimberly Larosa the CEO of Renaissance Community Loan Fund,
- Girard Gibert the CEO of Venture Technologies and Chairman of the Board of Empower Mississippi,
- Dr. Cass Pennington is a retired educator and former superintendent of Indianola and West Tallahatchie school districts, and,
- Dr. Mike McGrevey the current deputy director of the M-D-A.
The Governor says he believes he addressed some of the concern from lawmakers about creating a diverse lottery board.
"Five people so you're looking at geographical location hoping the state could be represented in that manner," Bryant said. "But also being inclusive of the population in the state of Mississippi."
The board will not be paid, however they will determine the salary for the executive director.
Officials are hoping to see the lottery in place sometime next year beginning with scratch offs.
Powerball and Mega Millions will take a couple years before Mississippians are able to purchase those tickets.