Editorials

Queen of Hearts gamblers find new games as cities are warned to follow rules

Queen of Hearts raffles take Southern Illinois by storm

File video: The Nashville American Legion had one of the area's first big pots. Now the Steeleville American Legion's jackpot has passed $1.4 million.
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File video: The Nashville American Legion had one of the area's first big pots. Now the Steeleville American Legion's jackpot has passed $1.4 million.

Some folks got upset about the News-Democrat’s obvious dislike of civic groups and veterans organizations, because what other conclusion could there be when questions are raised about the Queen of Hearts games operated by those folks.

For the record, we probably dislike puppies and kittens, too.

What we questioned were the crowds overwhelming small towns and their abilities to get fire, police and ambulance services to the halls. We asked whether games topping $1 million were following state and local laws, and found that a dozen were not. We questioned the liability faced by communities and their taxpayers.

So here we go again, hating on those who protected our freedoms and those wanting to build playgrounds for children with disabilities.

First, Frank Heiligenstein makes his living straightening out municipal ordinances. He sees a problem and wrote to 350 of his clients.

Second, Highland is now considering drafting a Queen of Hearts ordinance after the Madison County Licensed Beverage Association approached them. These are the liquor store and bar owners.

It seems they have a charity golf tournament. They also have declining membership, which hurts their ability to give. Their board wants a Queen of Hearts game to give them money to donate, to reverse their membership slide and to support on-going training.

Most of the Highland City Council was nodding right along, except for Councilman Rick Frey.

“What kind of feedback are we going to get because this isn’t a local organization?” Frey said.

Exactly. Plus, it is not a civic group or a veteran group or even a fraternal organization. It is a business group dedicated to promoting alcohol sales.

News-Democrat hates booze and small businesses?

Well, we do think a charity raffle should be run by a charity at the charity’s hall, not by folks hoping to increase membership, fund training and — oh yeah, increase their charitable giving — by cashing in on a hungry, thirsty crowd of gamblers.

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