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Beverly, Mt. Greenwood, Morgan Park

McNally’s Queen Of Hearts Raffle Finds A Winner For $2.6 Million Pot

The pot will be split between the winner and St. Cajetan Elementary School, which would mean each gets more than $1.3 million.

The pot at a Queen of Hearts raffle at McNally's benefitting St. Cajetan School keeps soaring.
Howard Ludwig/ Block Club Chicago
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MORGAN PARK — McNally’s has finally pulled a winner for its $2,637,000 Queen of Hearts raffle.

The winner was selected on Thursday night after months of drawings in the raffle at the Morgan Park bar. The raffle rolled over for more than 40 weeks, and the pot got so big politicians had to change the city’s law to allow it to keep rolling.

The pot will be split between the winner and St. Cajetan Elementary School, which would mean each gets more than $1.3 million before taxes.

The winning card ended up being No. 42. McNally’s announced the win in a post on Facebook.

The bar’s owners did not announce who won, but rumors of the lucky person’s identity spread on the Southwest Side Thursday night and Friday morning.

“Shut the front door,” one person commented on McNally’s Facebook post. “That was the number I’ve been playing all along.”

“Congrats to this extremely lucky person,” another wrote.

“I only pray that he is a Sox fan,” chimed in another.

The raffle drew considerable attention to McNally’s, 11136 S. Western Ave., with people crowding in to buy tickets and sure, why not have a beer when they’re inside. Or two.

The crowd was electric on the night of the drawing each week. Customers stood shoulder to shoulder as an enormous metal tumbler filled with tickets was spun over and over again as a woman dressed as the Queen of Hearts presided. A teacher or parent from St. Cajetan School typically pulled a raffle ticket from the large drum, and the crowd quieted as the ticket owner’s name was read over a loud speaker along with the number of the card that had been selected.

Here’s how the raffle worked:

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 began months ago, the cards were placed face down on a poster board and numbered 1-54 (the jokers are left in the deck). 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.