CHICAGO (CBS) — Dreams came true Tuesday night with the drawing of a $7 million raffle. The Queen of Hearts in McHenry became a phenomenon with thousands converging in the small town located in the northwest suburbs.
McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett dove into a massive tub of two million raffle tickets. It took four draws before he pulled a winner, making someone millions of dollars richer and bringing an end to the nearly two year Queen of Hearts raffle.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports Lori S. won the jackpot, but she was not present at the time of the drawing. Unlike lottery winners, she can choose to remain anonymous. Her share of the $7 million jackpot is $4.2 million.
The VFW called her tonight and said she sounded flabbergasted.
Others came from near and far for the chance to win millions.
“It’s a ball! I love it,” said Cathy Madlener from Fox Lake. ”It’s just the anticipation. I want my number called! Don’t you?”
The Queen of Hearts is a numbers game with a big jackpot, just north of $7 million. It was $7,080,528 to be exact, according to Dwane Lungren from VFW Post 4600.
The McHenry County VFW Queen of Hearts raffle has been rolling for two years, drawing in thousands.
“We are from Valparaiso, Indiana. We came a long way,” said Don McGuire. “$7 million tops. I’ve never seen anything like it!”
For $5, you can get six chances to guess which sealed card is concealing the Queen of Hearts; but first, a ticket with your guess has to be chosen.
$2 million tickets were sold this week, alone. Lungren says on average, about 300,000 tickets are sold per day.
McHenry officials were forced to rewrite their raffle laws three times to accommodate the mounting jackpots and rising dreams.
Before climbing any higher, the VFW decided to make Tuesday night’s drawing their last, at least for this round.
“We will have a winner. No roll over. No new jackpot,” stated Lungren.
The VFW takes 20% of the jackpot, or about $1.4 million and an equal amount goes to Uncle Sam.
The Queen of Hearts raffle will resume in January. Based on the money taken in Tuesday night, VFW officials said that money will be put aside for a starting jackpot of $3 million.