Nova Scotia Fishing Village Draws Winner in Innovative Lottery Fundraiser

Nova Scotia Fishing Village Draws Winner in Innovative Lottery Fundraiser

The unique raffle-card lottery game that captured much of the world’s attention for the last year or so has finally pulled a winner. The small town of Inverness, a fishing village off the coast in Nova Scotia, Canada, has made national headlines for their lottery game known as “Chase the Ace.” It started last October as a way to raise funds for a local community center, according to The New Yorker.

The lottery started as a $200 jackpot that rolled over every week until someone won the grand prize by selecting the Ace of Spades from a deck of cards after first having their raffle ticket pulled. The wait is finally over as Donelda MacAskill, a 62-year-old woman from Nova Scotia, won the grand prize this past weekend, which had accumulated to $1.7 million.

“You don’t play with the thought of winning,” MacAskill told when asked what she planned to do next. “I really didn’t think I was going to win. That’s why I was on the side of the road, ready to head for home.”

Apparently, MacAskill and her husband, John, were about to head home when she realized her number had been called. With more than 25,000 people crowding the small town and the hockey arena being used to house the card pulling, it was a struggle to make it there in time. Lucky for her, she did.

A random lucky million dollar winner isn’t what makes this lottery particularly unique, though; that happens pretty much every day somewhere around the world. Regardless of how much is won, 70% of winners will lose or spend it all within five years.

Yet what happened in Inverness over the last year was something of an experiment by a small town.

Not only did they market and advertise the event, they were able to draw literally tens of thousands of people from around the country to a place they may have otherwise never even heard of. The contest rules made it clear you had to be present in Inverness to win.

“There’s a saying going around here,” said Alec O’Neill, whose family owns the Village Grill in the town, a short drive from the region’s acclaimed Cabot Cliffs golf course. “The golf course spent $500-million to put us on the map. And the legion just bought a deck of cards.”

Two organizations took part in putting the event together, the Royal Canadian Legion and the Inverness Cottage Workshop. The two will evenly split what’s expected to be over $2 million in net earning.

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