McHenry VFW Queen of Hearts pot swells to more than $4M

Hundreds turn out for popular raffle drawing

Volunteer Terry Gaylord sold thousands of tickets for the Queen of Hearts raffle Tuesday night. She even bought a few herself.
Volunteer Terry Gaylord sold thousands of tickets for the Queen of Hearts raffle Tuesday night. She even bought a few herself.

The queen of hearts is playing hard to get.

But that didn’t stop hundreds of local residents from packing the McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 for the popular Queen of Hearts drawing Tuesday night.

“It’s like ‘Groundhog Day,’ ” VFW Cmdr. Dwane Lungren said, adding that the crowd continues to grow as the pot swells. “The same thing happens every week, which is kind of funny.”

Next week’s pot has risen to $4,264,504.

The game has seen an explosion of interest as the jackpot grows, sparking headlines across the region. More than 650,000 tickets were sold for Tuesday’s drawing. There now are 11 cards remaining.

If the queen of hearts is chosen next week, the winner will earn 60 percent of the pot, which is about $2.4 million before taxes.

Another 20 percent of the pot would go back to the VFW, and the final
20 percent would go to starting the next pot. Of the total, 33 percent would go toward state and federal taxes.

On Tuesday, a ticket bearing the name Anthony G. was picked, and he chose the No. 49. Inside was the eight of spades, meaning he won $100.

The remaining cards are 20, 25, 29, 30, 35, 36, 38, 40, 51, 53 and 54.

Tickets for next week’s drawing can be bought at the VFW, 3002 Route 120. The VFW is closed every Monday.

A new set of tickets is put into the bin each week.

“It’s getting worse and worse every week, but everyone’s having fun. That’s the main thing,” volunteer and auxiliary member Terry Gaylord said.

The McHenry City Council has raised its raffle prize limit four times, most recently allowing for a $6 million payout in prize money after its Aug. 6 meeting.

Last week, some City Council members expressed concerns regarding the increasing popularity of the game – and the traffic it causes.

“I am concerned that there is potential for this to get beyond what you can handle,” Ward 4 Alderman Scott Curry said.

Ward 2 Alderman Andrew Glab expressed similar concerns.

“It is getting a little crazy over there,” he said at last week’s meeting.

The McHenry Police Department patrolled the area and assisted with traffic control Tuesday night.

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