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Progressive pot beginning to grow in local Catch the Ace lottery

The agencies operating the lottery have begun to sell tickets downtown prior to Guelph Storm games
20180208 Catch the Ace June Sutherland KA
June Sutherland of Community Living Guelph Wellington stands with the drum of tickets and locked box of envelopes used in the local Catch the Ace progressive pot lottery. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

A local Chase the Ace-style progressive lottery is gaining momentum — and a growing jackpot — after experiencing some early growing pains.

After nine weeks, the progressive pot for the local Catch the Ace lottery is now over $520 and this week’s winner took home $149 in the weekly draw.

The local Catch the Ace lottery is being operated in partnership with Community Living Guelph Wellington’s and Family Counselling and Support Services Guelph Wellington.

Out of the gate, the local lottery had difficult selling tickets. On one week early on not a single ticket was sold.

Progressive lotteries have yet to catch on in Guelph yet, said June Sutherland, finance administrator for Community Living GW, but ticket sales are starting to pick up.

Volunteers recently began selling tickets for the lottery in the Old Quebec Street Mall prior to Guelph Storm hockey games.

The tickets are also sold at the offices of Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph Wellington and Community Living GW. For hours and locations, click here.

“Everybody that stops to buy a ticket asks ‘what is this? How does it work?’ And it’s a long explanation,” said Sutherland.

Draws are held on Thursday evenings at Community Living GW’s office on Royal Road.

The addition of ticket sales in prior to hockey games is starting to payoff. After this week’s draw, a total of 149 $5 tickets were sold and the progressive pot is now over $520 for the eventual ticket owner that selects the Ace of Spades.

The added exposure of selling in the mall is also boosting ticket sales at the offices Erica Pellin, manager of operations Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph Wellington.

“We look forward to growing participation as the game goes on,” said Pellin.

Often referred to as Chase the Ace on the East Coast, progressive lotteries in Ontario are licensed by the province under the name Catch the Ace.

In the local Catch the Ace lottery, numbered tickets are sold each week for $5 with half the proceeds go to the charity of choice — in this case Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph Wellington and Community Living Guelph Wellington.

The other 50 per cent of the ticket sales are split into two piles — a nightly pot amounting to 20 per cent of that night’s ticket sales, while the other 30 per cent is placed into a progressive pot.

One number is pulled from a drum and the person with that ticket wins the 20 per cent nightly draw and is allowed to pick from one of 52 numbered envelopes for a chance to draw the Ace of Spades to win the progressive pot.

The longer the progressive lottery goes without the Ace of Spades being picked, the more money goes into the progressive pot.

Jackpots for progressive lotteries have sometimes reached into the millions of dollars on the East Coast.

In August, a Newfoundland couple won $2.6 million in a Chase the Ace progressive lottery that ran 44 weeks.

So far, eight cards have been drawn in the local lottery — none of which was the Ace of Spades.

Sutherland said she hopes someone catches the ace eventually, but the longer the lottery goes on, the more the agencies will benefit. 

“We don’t want it to go too quick,” she said.

The agencies have mostly used social media to promote the event in an attempt to keep costs down and put as much money as possible into the programs they support, said Sutherland. 

“Other than buying a deck of cards and printing the tickets, with everything else we are keeping the administrative costs to a minimum because we don’t want to spend people’s money that way,” she said.