Watching two states governments bickering over who might be luring their potentail cash cows away from them is amusing, if it weren’t so disturbing. Stats are battling over people who might be crossing borders to play the other state’s lottery games as opposed to their own. But fear not, a study was done that shows there has been no noticable decrease in lottery revenues from these cross-border lottery purchases.
Mississippians are spending “roughly” as much as $70 million annually purchasing lottery tickets in contiguous states, a study conducted by the University Research Center estimates.
State Economist Darrin Webb said recently that officials in Louisiana estimated that Mississippians spend $30 million purchasing lottery tickets in their state while Arkansas officials estimated that Mississippians account for between $5 million and $10 million annually of their sales. Tennessee officials did not provide data, but Webb estimated it might be as much as is spent in Louisiana. Alabama does not have a lottery.
Mississippians traveling west across the Mississippi River to purchase lottery tickets or crossing the northern border into Tennessee to do the same is one of the primary reasons state officials cite for supporting a lottery.
“We can no longer contain the people’s desire for a lottery. We can only force them to travel,” Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said in his 2017 State of the State speech.
Still, Webb explained recently that there could be even slightly higher “leakage,” or money leaving the state from a Mississippi-run lottery.