Big raffle jackpot draws crowds to rural Ohio bowling alley

GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Thousands of people are flocking to a rural Ohio village for a bowling alley’s weekly raffle in hopes of becoming an overnight millionaire.

The jackpot at SkyLane Bowling in Garrettsville has climbed to about $1.5 million because no one has won for a year. An estimated 10,000 people have shown up in recent weeks— about five times the population of the village located roughly 35 miles southeast of Cleveland, The Akron Beacon Journal ( ) reported.

The next drawing is Sunday.

Aaron King, the co-owner and general manager of Skylane and the organizer of the raffle, said about 316,000 tickets were sold for the last Queen of Hearts drawing, and he’s had to hire police officers to help with security.

“This place looks like a rock concert when this thing ends. But it’s a lot of fun,” King said.

Here’s how to play: There are 54 playing cards placed facedown on a board, and each card has a number on the back.

A ticket now costs $5. Players write their name and a number corresponding to one of the cards on the ticket. At the drawing, a ticket is selected, and the card with the number that person picked is flipped over.

If the card is the Queen of Hearts, the person takes home 90 percent of the jackpot; 10 percent is rolled over for the next drawing. But that’s only if the winner is present. If the winner isn’t present, he or she gets only 50 percent of the jackpot.

King took the idea from a Youngstown-area pub that drew big crowds before a woman won $1.8 million.

He said he doesn’t take a cut of the proceeds but benefits from beer and food sales. The village is also benefiting from frequent visitors stopping by local restaurants and bars.

“It’s increased revenue for those businesses and gas stations— anybody who’s open on Sunday,” said Garrettsville Mayor Rick Patrick.

According to the state attorney general’s office, the Queen of Hearts game is legal as long as all the money gathered is paid out.


Information from: Akron Beacon Journal,

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