Local Lotto Players Say Mississippi Should Take A Chance

Some state lawmakers say it's time for Mississippi to take a chance on a lottery. Supporters say the money Mississippians spend on lotteries in Louisiana and Florida could fill holes in our state's budget.

N&K Food Store, just west of the state line, is a favorite stop for Mississippians who want to play the Louisiana lottery.

"Ninety-five percent of the business does come from Mississippi. People drive from Ocean Springs and Gautier to this store every week just to buy those tickets," Store Manager Michele Stalling said.

Mickey Demoran makes the 40 mile round trip from Hancock County each week to get his lotto tickets.

"We'll bring 10, 20 bucks a week over here every week."

He says Mississippi should have jumped into the lottery business a long time ago.

"If it's there, sure I would stay in Mississippi. And do it without a doubt, instead of coming to Louisiana and spending my money."

Last year, the State of Louisiana generated more than $121 million from lotto sales. The question is, is that money being put to good use.

Louisiana Resident Joyce Salpietra says 'Yes."

"I think so. I think it's helped education and also highways."

But Store Manager Stallings disagrees.

"I don't really see where it has done too much. They say it's supposed to be for the education and the schools. You can look at the roads in Louisiana and you can see, I don't think the revenue from the lottery is going to the right place."

Mississippians who play say if a lottery is managed properly, the state could come up a big winner.

"They have a lot of programs that are in financial trouble in Mississippi, like in most states, and I'm sure the extra money could help them," Hancock County resident Dale Billiott said.

Hancock County resident Mickey Demoran echoed her words.

"It's a tax draw, its revenue. They're hollering about revenue, they need revenue, here's a chance."

Supporters of a Mississippi lottery estimate it could generate between two to three million dollars a year for the state.

by Al Showers