Includes video report
BILOXI, Miss. — In less than two weeks, you'll be able to buy scratch-off lottery tickets in Mississippi. Leading up to the Nov. 25 launch date, state lottery officials and retailers are putting the finishing touches on to make sure sales go smoothly.
"It's just a lot of work and a lot of heavy lifting in a short period of time," said Gerard Gibert, Vice Chairman of the Mississippi Lottery Corporation.
Speaking to a meeting of America's Future Foundation in Biloxi, Gibert said 1,600 retailers have applied to sell lottery tickets and 1,200 have been approved. Gibert credited his staff for working diligently to walk retailers through the process.
"Once we got our sales team on board that started calling directly on the retailers that many of them weren't sure how to deal with the application process, so we helped them with that," Gibert said. "We found some retailers that didn't know a lottery law had been passed, so we were able to bring them up to speed and help them through the application process."
The C Store in D'Iberville is one of about 1,000 retailers who've already gotten lottery equipment installed. Store Co-Owner Jennifer Cvitanovich said her employees have participated in training, and it's been a smooth process.
"When they said they were going to do something, they did. They were on time, installation was quick and easy, and we expect that to be the same thing when they bring in the scratch-offs," Cvitanovich said.
Cvitanovich is expecting to receive those scratch-offs any day.
"I think people have been looking forward to it for a long time. I think they're very curious. We're trying to get the word out that we've got them and let them come in and try it out," Cvitanovich said.
The bulk of lottery profits (the first $80 million in net profits) are designated to go toward improving the state's roads and bridges. Looking at projections and results from other states, Gibert believes Mississippi's lottery is in good position to meet expectations.
"Right now, based on the number of retailers we have, I have a high degree of confidence that we'll hit the $300-400 million of sales mark," Gibert said.
While you'll be able to buy scratch-off tickets later this month, Power Ball and Mega Millions tickets don't go on sale until Jan. 30. Other games of chance will be available later next year.
Prospective lottery players who want to find the closest Mississippi Lottery retailers can use the free Lottery Places app (www.lotteryplaces.com). Lottery Places is the only app available that can locate lottery retailers in every state and jurisdiction throughout the United States. It also finds lottery retailers in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, and much of the Caribbean.
Lottery Places can pinpoint any of the 1,000+ lottery retailers already approved for selling Mississippi Lottery tickets.
VIDEO: Watch the report