It’s All in the Numbers: Chances of a Lottery in Mississippi?

Lottery Sign

For many years, the State of Mississippi had a constitutional prohibition on lotteries. Sec. 98 of the Mississippi Constitution (adopted in 1890) stated as follows:

No lottery shall ever be allowed, or be advertised by newspapers, or otherwise, or its tickets be sold in this State; and the legislature shall provide by law for the enforcement of this provision; nor shall any lottery heretofore authorized be permitted to be drawn or its tickets sold.

Despite the constitutional prohibition on lotteries, the Mississippi Legislature went to great pains to distinguish a “lottery” from “gaming” under the Mississippi Gaming Control Act. Miss. Code Section 75-76-3, adopted in 1990, provides:

The Legislature recognizes that Section 98 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 prohibits the conducting of any lottery in this state and that, while not defining the term “lottery,” Section 98 clearly contemplates, as indicated by specific language contained therein, that a lottery involves the sale of tickets and a drawing in order to determine the winner. The Legislature also recognizes that Section 98 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 directs the Legislature to provide by law for the enforcement of its provisions. Therefore, in carrying out its duties under the Constitution and effectuating the intent of Section 98, the Legislature hereby finds that a lottery, as prohibited by the Constitution, does not include all forms of gambling….

The 1990 gaming control statute further defined a “lottery” as any activity in which: Continue Reading

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