CITY HALL — A Chicago law restricting how much money someone can win in a raffle won’t get in the way of a $1 million raffle pot waiting for someone at a Southwest Side bar.
That’s because the city’s aldermen just changed the law.
The old rule setting a cap at $1 million was tossed in favor of a new rule allowing pots to soar to $4 million.
Jackpot winners will be allowed to take home half of the total pot, meaning the actual cap on how much someone can win is $2 million.
The rule change clears the way for McNally’s at 11136 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park to keep rolling over its huge jackpot if no one wins the 9 p.m. Thursday drawing.
The pot in its Queen of Hearts 50/50 raffle has rolled over for 39 straight weeks.
McNally’s excitedly shared the news with customers on their Facebook page Wednesday.
“As of June 27, 2018, the maximum payout to a winner is $2,000,000. The current raffle will continue with one card drawn per week until the max payout is reached. Party On,” the post read, next to a meme of Wayne from “Wayne’s World.”
Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) proposed the rule change. McNally’s is in his ward.
About half the proceeds from the raffle benefit St. Cajetan School, a Catholic school in the neighborhood.
O’Shea said he authored the measure to help private and parochial schools in his ward that rely on fundraising because they do not get government funding.
“You can bet the money raised will be well used by St. Cajetan,” O’Shea said.
Queen of Hearts raffles have seen a surge in popularity in Chicago and around the state, with the McNally’s raffle taking the cake.
McNally’s had been somewhat sleepy at times. But ever since the raffle pot grew, people have flocked to the tavern to get their tickets (six for $5).
The raffle with the potential for a lucrative pot is named for the elusive playing card.
Those buying tickets write their name, phone number and a card number on each raffle ticket and then take a guess as to where the Queen of Hearts is hidden in the deck.
When the game begins, the cards are placed face down on a poster board and numbered 1-54 (the jokers are left in the deck for St. Cajetan’s raffle). The board is then laminated and thus sealed.
A raffle ticket is chosen each week from the pile at random. A number written on the ticket by the buyer decides which card will be cut out of the laminated poster. If that card is the Queen of Hearts, the winner shares the proceeds evenly with the Catholic school.
If that card is anything other than the Queen of Hearts, the pot rolls over into the next week. All of the previous raffle tickets are thrown out.