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Some Mississippi lawmakers push again for state lottery

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Tennesseans aren't the only ones gobbling up a chance at Tuesday's $636 million Mega Millions lottery tickets.

Folks from Mississippi are pouring into the Volunteer State all the way from the southern end of Mississippi just for a chance at the near-record jackpot.

Though Mississippi doesn't have a state lottery commission, some state lawmakers are trying to change that.

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MORE: Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot soars to near record $636M

According to Mississippi House Rep. Steve Holland (D-Tupelo), there will be another push for a lottery in the Magnolia State during this next legislative session. Does that mean the state is going to have its own lottery The odds aren't good, but that doesn't mean they aren't going to try again.

he parking lot of the BP on Highway 51, just across the stateline from Mississippi, was slammed Tuesday afternoon with tags from DeSoto County, Yalobush County, and South Panola, all from the Magnolia State people wanting to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets.

Larry Walton drove all the way from Tillatoba from Yalobush County, to buy lottery tickets.

"One-hundred miles but I didn't only buy for myself," Walton said. "I bought for some of my friends, too."

But if a group of lottery supporters in the Mississippi Legislature get a bill passed, folks like Walton won't have to make that drive any longer to purchase lottery tickets, Rep. Holland said.

"Well when I say there is going to be a push, there is a group of folks that are very fervent about having a lottery in the State of Mississippi," Rep. Holland said. "Previously the voters took away the ban and it's a matter of putting it in statutes at this point. I think it could go for a lot of things, a lot of causes like education."
 
Rep. Holland said the money from the lottery could be earmarked for education or roads. One of the stumbling blocks in the way of a lottery in Mississippi, he says, are the casinos.

"The casino industry since the mid '90s has vehemently opposed it, seeing it as a threat to their industry," Rep. Holland said.

Most in Mississippi who want a lottery ticket are willing to make the drive, Rep. Holland said.
 
"Oh my Lord, they drive from Tupelo to Savannah, places like that weekly," Rep. Holland said. "It's amazing."
 
Rep. Holland said he believes the lottery is something Mississippi residents want, but probably aren't going to get. He has personally introduced bills for a lottery in Mississippi on some 15 occasions.

"I don't see a consensus anywhere, or a big consensus for a lottery," Rep. Holland said. "I think if we did get a debate and get a vote that you would see it pass."

Until Mississippi gets a lottery of its own, many Mississippians are going to continue to make the drive to Tennessee to buy lottery tickets.
 
"Until I win, then I'm going somewhere else," Walton said.
 
The bill that is going to be presented to the Mississippi Legislature this upcoming legislative session is being sponsored by State Rep. Alyce Clark of Jackson. She is a Democrat and a longtime member of the Mississippi House.

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