For the past 4 years since 2013, the Chase the Ace lottery has been gaining popularity in the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Recently, the Goulds area of St. John’s currently plays host to the lottery which now has a whopping CAN$ 1 million jackpot. Initially organized to raise money for St. Kevin’s Parish, people from all over the area just can’t seem to get enough of the lottery.
Chase the Ace started in Noel, Nova Scotia and was copied from a fundraiser idea in Inuvik. The Noel organizers were the first to receive a license for the game and they ended up giving away a whopping $200,000 in 2013. From that point on, the lottery exponentially grew in popularity with Nova Scotia issuing about 300 licenses for it in 2015. Since the lottery’s inception, organizers from Inverness and Sydney (both in Nova Scotia) have given away jackpots of $1.7 million and $2.9 million respectively.
For a lottery game, Chase the Ace is pretty unique thanks to tweaks in the lottery formula/rules that make it more exciting. Similar to other lotteries, players will need to purchase tickets from the organizers.
However, unlike most lotteries, players aren’t going to win the jackpot outright if their tickets get picked. Instead, they’ll get 20% of the proceeds from the day’s ticket sales and the chance to play for the jackpot. To win the week’s jackpot prize, the player whose ticket got picked will have to pull out an Ace of Spades from a single deck of cards.
This unique twist to the lottery formula as well as the reach of social media has resulted in crowds trooping to Goulds. With the jackpot now at CAN$ 1 million, players are now lining up as early as 06:00 AM for a chance to purchase tickets.
In fact, the crowd turns up for the weekly draws has been so impressive that it becomes impossible to send text messages or make a call since the mobile phone towers in the area end up getting overwhelmed. Additionally, weekly draws have forced the local authorities to close roads as well as deny players parking.
Despite this, crowds are still flocking into Goulds and are actually helping the businesses in the area. In an interview with the St John’s Telegram, parish spokesperson Carol O’Brien noted that “every business in the Goulds is booming and is fantastic” thanks to the crowds that gather for the weekly draws on Wednesdays.
Crowd size isn’t the only problem that the organizers are facing though. Just this week, the most recent draw got canceled thanks to reports of duplicate tickets. While the issue was caused by a printing error, Service NL, the governmental organization that regulates gambling in the province still had to postpone the week’s draw.
Of course, this has resulted in upset players who trooped to the town just for the once-in-a-week event. As for the next draw, it’s still unclear when it’s going to be rescheduled. Right now, the organizers are still currently working together with the province and the printing company contracted for the tickets to check whether the lottery license conditions were satisfactorily met. Hopefully, things get sorted out and a player finally ends up drawing the Ace.
The lottery started in 2013 and is starting to make the news every year across Canada about the fever on the east coast over this lottery. The lottery is starting to spread across Canada and has even started in Manitoulin Island.
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