Lake in the Hills American Legion Queen of Hearts raffle set for Nov. 8
Fox Valley area residents feeling lucky can try their hand at a new raffle in Lake in the Hills.
The village board this week gave the green light for American Legion Post 1231 to host a Queen of Hearts raffle without a limit on maximum cash payout. The only condition is the legion must secure a $1 million fidelity bond from a bank or financial institution should the gross payout get that high.
Village President Russ Ruzanski said that provision was added to protect the village from liability.
"The odds are very slim that that will happen, (but) you have to look at it as if it's a possibility," Ruzanski said.
The raffle begins Nov. 8 with a starting pot of $1,000 and will continue for a year until Nov. 7, 2019, using a progressive jackpot that rolls over each week similar to the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600's Queen of Hearts drawing, which reached a jackpot of more than $7 million.
An anonymous winner last month finally claimed more than $4.2 million before taxes -- 60 percent of McHenry VFW's pot.
That raffle caused a stir, drawing huge crowds that became a logistical problem for the fraternal group and city.
"We put it in our raffle license to cap it at $1 million because we didn't want that headache," said Norm Schwartz, Post 1231 adjutant and an Army veteran. "If it got too big and out of hand, we would be looking (at) renting a place in Lake in the Hills to have the raffle."
Ruzanski said the village police department will monitor closely for any traffic or parking concerns arising from the raffle to minimize any inconvenience for residents.
Raffle tickets will sell for six for $5. A raffle ticket will be drawn at 8 p.m. every Thursday. If the Queen of Hearts is drawn, the winner will receive 70 percent of the pot, while the post keeps 15 percent with the remainder going toward a new jackpot. If another queen or one of two jokers are drawn, the winner receives 5 percent of the pot.
Legion leaders hope the raffle will generate enough revenue to upgrade, and perhaps expand, the 60-year-old legion hall situated on half an acre at 1101 Algonquin Road.
The goal is to remodel the roughly 30,000-square-foot building, replace the siding and roof, repave the parking lot and perhaps purchase land to build a new hall, Schwartz said.
Its basement houses a bar, video gambling machines, pool table, dart boards and televisions. The area upstairs serves as a rental hall with a kitchen and small bar that can accommodate 120 people.
Schwartz said he hopes the raffle will raise more awareness about the legion and what it does for veterans and their families through charity fundraisers and supporting local food pantries.
"A lot of people think it's just an old bunch of veterans sitting around drinking," he said of the group's 400 members, which include children and spouses of veterans.