Hay River's second Chase the Ace lottery is off and running.
Its first weekly draw was held on Sept. 15, and Kelsey Brown – a visitor from Winnipeg – won the right to draw from a deck of 52 cards.
She drew the eight of spades, not the ace of spades which would have ended the lottery right there and then.
Brown won $600 in a weekly prize, and she appeared quite happy about that.
"I never win anything," she said, adding it was "pretty neat" to claim the prize. "It'll pay for my airfare back home."
In all, $2,990 worth of tickets was sold at the Doghouse Sports Bar and the Royal Canadian Legion.
According to the division of that money, 20 per cent went to the weekly prize, 30 per cent ($900) went to an accumulating jackpot, and 50 per cent ($1,490) went to the lottery licence holder – the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games (AWG) Host Society.
While those numbers are miniscule compared to the end of last year's first Chase the Ace in Hay River, it took the Hay River Curling Club – which presented that first lottery – much longer to reach those totals.
Glen Smith, the IT chairperson for the AWG Host Society and the Curling Club's main organizer for the first Chase the Ace, said it was week 17 in that first draw before a similar level of ticket sales – $2,860 – was reached.
The Curling Club sold just $900 worth of tickets for its first draw.
Keith Dohey, the chair of fundraising with the AWG Host Society, was pleased with the ticket sales on Sept. 15.
"I'm happy with what we did tonight," he said. "It will grow from here, obviously."
Dohey said the ticket sales were about what organizers had anticipated.
"We were actually pretty close, I think, to what we were probably expecting for a first night," he said. "Based on the excitement and anticipation from the last one, a lot of people have been sort of waiting for it and talking about it. So we were expecting that we'd probably do OK, and I think we did."
Some people say they will wait until the prize money gets bigger to play, he noted. "But for it to get bigger, you need people to play."
Dohey noted Chase the Ace has the potential to raise a lot of money.
"You never know with this," he said. "I mean the ace could have been drawn tonight. That would have been unfortunate, but we're back to where we started."
Dohey is hoping Chase the Ace will raise some money for the Arctic Winter Games, noting they are going to be huge for the South Slave.
"So the more that we can get out of it, the higher chances of success we have for the games," he said.
The Town of Hay River awarded a Chase the Ace lottery licence to the AWG Host Society earlier this month.
The host society was one of two organizations to have applications for a Chase the Ace licence submitted to the town since last year.
The town delayed awarding a licence while preparing a Chase the Ace bylaw, which was approved by council on July 25.