The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has declared that Chase the Ace, a fundraiser run by St. Marys Junior B Team, is unlawful. AGCO wants it shut down by the end of the week.
Since the fall, the St. Marys Lincolns had been giving out free tickets to those who bought hockey cards, believing that what they were doing was not considered to be a lottery but merely sweepstakes. However, AGCO disagreed.
Stewart Grant, the team's treasurer, stated that they were disappointed with the decision. According to Grant, they are on the lookout for a possible solution.
Chase the Ace is a fundraiser with progressive jackpots, and it has been quite popular in Canada in recent years. The money collected from the hockey card sales is put into a pot each week. If the weekly winner manages to draw the Ace of Spades from a deck of cards, that winner receives 50% of the funds. Another 25% goes to the team, and the remaining 25% gets placed in the weekly prize pot.
In case the weekly winner draws a card that isn't the Ace of Spades, that particular card gets removed from the deck and the money rolls over to the next week's drawing. The current pot size is estimated to be around $13,000.
At this point, it is still unknown where the money will go. The contest has been going on for 19 weeks, and it was at a stage where it had started to generate some serious excitement.
Both the town and the Lincolns are still waiting for AGCO's official explanation as to why the fundraiser is deemed to be unlawful. The team tried to model it after other legal sweepstakes that did not require the players to purchase a ticket. One example is the restaurant contests that involve the customers receiving a free ticket when they purchase a meal.