PEARL RIVER, La. -- Lunchtime at the Riverside Travel Center here sees a lot of in-and-out traffic, and today most of the vehicles in the parking lot had Mississippi license plates.
That's because the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery games are promising some of the highest payouts on record. At the same time, one Mississippi lawmaker is promising something that could be more valuable than a winning ticket: an attempt at getting a lottery started in that state.
It would bring in millions of dollars in new revenue, and keep lottery fans from having to travel across state lines to get in the game.
"It would be good for the schools and the road conditions," said Willie Parker from McComb. "Everybody gotta get on the same page."
Mayor Joe Gallaspy of New Augusta, Mississippi, said it makes "1,000 percent" sense to have the discussion. Not only is there the money the state is losing from a lack of lotto games, other dollars are going to Louisiana instead of his home state.
"I bought 20-something dollars worth of merchandise," he said as he held a brown bag of items he picked up while across the state line.
Louisiana businesses that bank off the extra buyers say they know they'll take a hit but aren't worried about it.
"We do have faithful customers who come here all the time," said Jenny Jones, assistant manager at the Riverside Travel Center. "They won't buy tickets anywhere but here."