Lottery fans dreaming of riches waited patiently until after midnight to try their luck as Tennessee became the last state in the Southeast to offer legal gambling.
Four different types of scratch-off lottery games went on sale at 12:01 a.m. local time Tuesday. Tickets cost between $1 and $5 and award prizes up to $1 million.
"I feel it will be lucky here tonight. Hopefully it will be," said Natalie Dukureh, a postal worker in Nashville who raced to a convenience store right after her shift ended late Monday.
Dukureh spent $45 and won $12 plus a free ticket. "Not a problem," she said.
The start of the Tennessee games, with proceeds earmarked for college scholarships, comes over a year after voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to lift the state's constitutional ban on lotteries, which are now expected to bring in $900 million a year for the state.
At a convenience store in Brentwood, a crowd of about 50 people counted down the seconds in a festive atmosphere that included a live broadcast by a radio station and free sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres provided by the store.
Walter England of Brentwood bought the store's first tickets and spent $110.
"I'm doing this just to help education," said England. "If I win, this might be the last time I play."
Until the lottery was approved, many owners of Tennessee convenience stores -- especially those close to neighboring states -- complained they lost money as customers drove past their stores to pick up supplies and lottery tickets across state lines.
Now lottery officials expect their games to draw players from border states, even those that already have lotteries. Across the state, purple-and-yellow signs beckoned players into stores and employees prepared for extra work.
In Ooltewah, about 15 miles east of Chattanooga, Steve Ray has been prepping for the games for more than six months. He spent more than $100,000 over the summer to add extra room and a coffee shop to his Neighborhood Chevron so people will have a place to play the games.
"We were going to expand anyway, so when the lottery came in it gave me the incentive to go ahead and do it," he said.
Ray, whose store usually closes at 7 p.m., reopened at about 10 p.m. Monday for a midnight party.
"This is historic for us," Ray said. "The state's over 200 years old. It's about time to have a lottery."