SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - Just about everyone has dreamed of striking it rich the easy way, by winning the lottery. Mississippians hoping to press their luck are out of luck when it comes to buying tickets in their home state. It's one of seven states in the country without a lottery, but recent record-setting jackpots are making it look more attractive.
"Every day. Every day, they're asking about tickets," says store owner Thierno Ba.
He doesn't like the answer he has to give.
"I send them to Memphis," Ba tells abc24.com.
Ba runs the BP on Stateline Road in Southaven. He sees a dozen customers every day who want to buy lottery tickets in Mississippi.
"But we don't sell it so they go. We lose a lot of business like that," he says.
State Representative Trey Lamar has heard the hype, but says state legislators and the governor aren't buying in to a lottery.
"For a lot of folks it amounts to a poor tax," Lamar says, "exploiting people who don't need to spend money on a risky venture. I think that's one of the main negatives against the lottery in Mississippi."
"I don't know why not," says Mississippian Terry Parks. "I think it's good for state. They've got the casinos, so why not have a lottery? Either way it's gambling. Scratch offs, lottery, the casinos, gambling is gambling."
Parks is one of Ba's customers who travels to Tennessee to get tickets.
"Twice a week," he says. "Every Wednesday and Saturday."
Other Mississippi players tell us they'd buy on their side of the state line if they could.
"I wouldn't mind for them to have it because I'm right across the street," says Leslie Sanders. "I wouldn't have to go far to get my tickets."
"We're close enough to Memphis if someone wants to buy one they can go over there and buy one," says Wanda Henley.
But Ba's tired of seeing money walk out the door. "I want to sell it because it's good money, but I can't sell it because don't have authorization."
The Mississippi Gaming Commission won't comment on the lottery. It's too late for a bill to be introduced to the legislature this year, but a few lawmakers have expressed interest in one in the future.