UPDATE: The jackpot is expected to eclipse $1 million after there were no winners in the Queen of Hearts Drawing again Wednesday. The next drawing in Aviston, Illinois, will be next Wednesday. The card pulled was the three of spades.
AVISTON, Ill. - Aviston, Illinois, is the place to be for those feeling lucky. Last week, the American Legion drew a ticket in a Queen of Hearts game for an estimated jackpot of more than $800,000, but the winner wasn't in attendance.
The town — with a population of 2,000 — had nearly 10,000 people registered to participate in the drawing. Legion members say the fire department required them to cap the number of participants for safety reasons.
“It’s like a parade came to our house,” Aviston resident Jeannette Walters said. She moved to town with her husband when just 250 people called the place home.
She said she’s been amazed by the visitors to town seeking out the fortune.
“Oh, I think it’s great. It’d be greater if I could win it,” she said.
The woman whose ticket was picked was not present but chose card 29 on the big board. That card matched the Joker in the deck, meaning she won $500 for having the matching ticket and another $1,000 for picking the Joker.
The massive jackpot will roll over again. There are now just 10 cards remaining in the deck, and the next pick is being pulled tonight.
Additional tickets can be purchased today from 3 - 7 p.m., but only by people who have already registered for a PIN before October 17.
The Legion is planning to use their proceeds — 20 percent of ticket sales — to make their post more accessible to the disabled, but they aren’t the only ones benefiting. Business owners in town say they, too, are seeing an uptick in customers from the crowds.
“I hope who wins is somebody who needs it,” said Brian Deva, manager of the Aviston family restaurant.
The Queen of Hearts drawing has been happening once a week since January, and legion members say they never expected it to go on so long without a winner.