Organizers of a Hagersville, Ont. not-for-profit fundraiser are characterizing recent record tickets sales and jackpots for their Catch the Ace game as “bonkers.”
Members of the local Lions Club say the prospect of giving away $1 million has “blown their minds” and is not something the community of only a few thousand people has ever seen from it’s locally run draw.
Club member Tanya Ribbink told 900 CHML’s Hamilton Today the record Mar. 2 draw saw 86,405 tickets sold in about a half an hour, about 16,000 more tickets than the Feb. 23 draw.
“Never in our wildest dreams we imagined it would grow this large,” Ribbink said.
She says the latest version of the fundraiser, under OLG licence, started out with a deck of cards put into envelopes, rolled in a drum, and then numbered one to 252.
Each week, participants in the progressive raffle buy tickets for a draw promising at least one automatic winner, collecting 20 per cent of sales.
That victor then gets a shot at picking a numbered envelope that could equate to a progressive jackpot that’s been built up each week with 30 per cent of ticket sales.
If the envelope contains the ace of spades, they win the jackpot.
So far, the ace of spades has not been seen for the past 41 weeks bolstering the jackpot to $839,994 as of late last week.
Cash from tickets sales for the next draw, March 9, is expected to take the top prize over $1 million.
“While the odds of having your ticket pulled from the raffle are growing, your odds are decreasing if your ticket is pulled,” said Ribbink.
“We started with 252, and now I believe we have 10 or 11 envelopes left.”
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The Hagersville Lions Club and the Hagersville Rocks committee of the Hagersville Chamber of Commerce get 50 per cent of the money coming for the fundrasister.
The Lions club has been putting their cash into a few local food banks, while Rocks is giving its half to the West Haldimand Hospital and Healthcare Foundation.
Tickets are only sold one day a week, in person, at the Hagersville Legion Branch 164.
Doors Thursday open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:50 p.m., with the draw taking place at 8 p.m.
“It’s cash only. Tickets are $10 each or three for $20,” according to Ribbink.
“If you can’t be there yourself you can send someone else, as long as you trust them to put your name and phone number on the ticket.”
In recent weeks, with the jackpot growing, OPP have issued warnings about individuals selling potentially fraudulent tickets around the event.
“If you are approached by anybody in parking lots, motor vehicles or even people approaching you on foot to purchase tickets for this event, please make sure that you understand that those tickets are going to be fraudulent in nature,” OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said in a social media post Feb 22.
Anyone with information on a potential fraudulent incident can reach out to OPP or Crime Stoppers.