True statement: Only ticket holders already registered with a PIN number have a chance to win a pot that could grow to $700,000 at the Queen of Hearts drawing Wednesday.
False statement: Aviston’s American Legion Hall stopped registration for the drawing because they want a local winner, or someone who has already paid into the pot.
Some Facebook commenters have suggested the Legion stopped accepting new participants for the game out of a desire to have the jackpot go to a local resident.
“Absolutely not,” said Jerry Haselhorst, adjutant and finance officer of the American Legion Hall Post 1239. “We have people from St. Charles, Wentzville, Ste. Genevieve. We’ve got 9,500 registrants.”
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Aviston’s population was fewer than 2,100 people in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Legion Hall stopped selling new PIN numbers Oct. 17 because the nearly 10,000 registrations were already creating unwieldy crowds on Queen of Hearts nights, Haselhorst said.
“We did not do it to limit (a winner) to the local people, no way,” he said.
“We encourage other people to come and spend money,” Haselhorst said. The Legion Hall sells drinks and 50-50 tickets, with those proceeds going to hurricane relief as well as the local park.
As of Thursday morning, the prize jackpot stood at about $583,000. But Haselhorst estimates the prize potential will be more than $700,000 by the time of the Wednesday drawing next week. Those who are already registered and have PIN numbers can buy tickets until 7:30 p.m. the night of the drawing.
At this point, he said most people are buying $20 worth of tickets, which are $1 each. Of that, 80 cents goes to the drawing and the remainder to the Legion Hall’s future project to renovate the building and add accessible restrooms and ramps.
The Legion Hall estimates the renovations will cost upward of $300,000, and the $180,000 or so from the Queen of Hearts drawing will go a long way toward that.
Haselhorst has one fervent hope: Please have a winner on Wednesday, and please be there to win. If the winner is not present, he or she will take only half the pot.
“If only half the pot goes out; then the other half of the pot rolls to a new board with 54 cards,” he said. He is already putting in about 60 hours a week at the hall, selling and tracking ticket sales.