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Catch the Ace not catching on

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

Orillia hasn't really gotten Catch the Ace fever.

While other locales including Barrie have jumped into the lottery game that benefits local charities, Orillia's entry just isn't there yet.

The president of the Orillia legion and organizer of the Catch the Ace lottery through the Orillia bingo hall, Rick Purcell said he hopes more exposure will boost ticket sales of its lottery.

"It's running but not doing as well as I had hoped," said Purcell, who noted tickets are sold several times a week at the bingo hall as well as during some legion activities.

"We're selling 200 to 300 tickets a week while Barrie's selling about 1,000 a week."

The local lottery is based on the success of the Chase the Ace lottery in St. Kevin's Parish in St. John's, N.L. Last month, a lucky Maritime winner took home more than $2 million, and the related charities also made a tidy bundle.

To play the game, each ticket buyer chooses a number between one and 52 - marked on plain envelopes with a random playing card tucked inside - and writes their number on their ticket which goes into a large barrel. More than one person can choose each number.

After a maximum number of tickets have been sold each week, one is drawn from a large barrel and that winner gets the weekly take. If the ace of spades is inside the envelope, they also win the growing jackpot. If the ace isn't uncovered, the jackpot grows each week until the ace is found.

"That person automatically wins 20% of the weekly sales," Purcell said. "If it's the ace of spades, they win the accumulated jackpot, which is 30% of the weekly sales, so a total of 50% of the weekly sales."

Purcell said the ace of spades hasn't yet been drawn locally, meaning someone has the chance to win about $3,000 as things now stand.

"We only have 16 cards left out of 52," he said. "In Nova Scotia and Barrie, sales increase because there are fewer cards available. We're hoping as we get lower, maybe more people will buy."

In Orillia, a dozen local charities stand to be beneficiaries, including the Royal Canadian Legion and local Rotary and Lions clubs.

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