The debate raged on for years between opposing camps, but in the end Oklahoma finally decided to jump on the bandwagon with neighboring states by legalizing the lottery.

Since the big news first became public, many people have wondered how long it would take before lottery tickets began to make their way to Pauls Valley.

As of today — the wait is officially over.

By 6 a.m. today five businesses around Pauls Valley began selling lottery tickets including E-Z Mart convenience store, located at 800 East Grant.

“We started selling tickets today. The first ones we’ll have are the ‘Scratch-Off’ tickets. They sell for $1, $2 or $5 each. When you purchase a ticket, we’ll scan it in to register it,” explained E-Z Mart Manager Dee Powell.

“You scratch it off and if you’ve won it will say, ‘Congratulations, you’re a winner!’ Then you bring the ticket back in and we’ll scan it back in and pay it out.”

For now, Powell said, Pauls Valley E-Z Mart store will be paying out a maximum of $25 per ticket, but winners of larger amounts may claim their cash prize by visiting the office of the Oklahoma State Lottery Commission.

According to Powell, the “Scratch-Off” tickets are only the first in a series of three different types of games which will become available to the public over the next four months.

“We have the ‘Scratch-Off’ now but we won’t have the ‘Pick-Threes’ until November. With the ‘Pick Threes’ you have a chance of winning even more money by selecting three numbers in a certain order,” she noted.

“But you can earn the really big money by playing ‘Powerball’ — up into the millions — but that doesn’t start until January 14th.”

While tickets may be purchased at numerous outlets throughout the state, Powell said prize money may be collected at any participating outlet, regardless of where the winning ticket was originally purchased.

And though tickets are available every day of the week, they cannot be purchased 24 hours a day.

Local outlets have designated a brief period in each working day — from about midnight to 6 a.m., depending on the business policy — when no tickets will be allowed to be sold to the public.

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