Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jerseyville, Ill., Latest Town to Crack Down on Popular Queen of Hearts Raffles

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jerseyville, Ill., Latest Town to Crack Down on Popular Queen of Hearts Raffles

Article excerpt

Jerseyville became this week the latest city in Southern Illinois to crack down on Queen of Hearts raffles, which have drawn huge crowds and raised questions about liability.

The City Council passed new rules Tuesday requiring organizers of the raffles to apply for a license and offer maximum payouts of $1 million. Licenses will be issued only to "bona fide religious, charitable, business, labor, fraternal, educational or veterans' organizations" who have leaders of "good moral character" without professional gambling experience or felony records.

The raffles typically involve a weekly drawing for prize money that can roll over each week, increasing to pots worth millions. Each player who buys a raffle ticket is entered into a drawing. When a winning ticket is drawn, a card is pulled from a deck of playing cards. The queen of hearts wins the jackpot, and if it isn't chosen, the game continues to the next week with one fewer card in the deck.

The games have been credited with keeping struggling American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts afloat. The local veterans' halls typically keep 10 percent of the profits from ticket sales. Near Jerseyville, Legion Post 1135 in the village of Eldred (population 201) started a Queen of Hearts game last November and the prize has since grown to $250,000. …

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