A process has begun that will soon see a licence issued for the second Chase the Ace lottery in Hay River.
Judy Goucher, the senior administrative officer (SAO) with the Town of Hay River, said the town has had two licence applications on file since last year.
The town reached out to those applicants in the last couple of weeks to explain a new process as a result of a Chase the Ace bylaw passed by the town on July 25.
“Once the people who have the applications in complete the updated forms then we’ll be going through the bylaw process for selecting between all the applications and then we’ll proceed to award,” said Goucher. “It’s summer so there’s likely people away. Hopefully, in the next week or so.”
She expects the updated applications may be submitted this week.
The first Chase the Ace in Hay River was run last year by the Hay River Curling Club and was a massive success.
It ended in November with a total prize of $511,034. That consisted of a progressive jackpot that had grown to $463,079 in the 43 weeks of the lottery and a final weekly prize of $47,955.
That first Chase the Ace made the Hay River Curling Club about $600,000. Of that amount, $100,000 was donated to support construction of a new recreation centre.
Aside from the two applications received last year, no additional applications for a Chase the Ace licence have been received since the bylaw was passed.
“I have not directly heard of any interest from other groups,” said Goucher.
The SAO noted she is not surprised no new applications have been submitted.
“It requires a fair number of volunteers,” she said of running such a lottery. “So there are not a lot of groups in the community that are positioned to take it on.”
As for how long it will be before another Chase the Ace begins after a licence is issued, Goucher said, “It will depend on the groups, how quickly they can get their resources together.”
However, she expects it would probably happen in a “reasonable” amount of time, likely within a month.
Like the SAO, Mayor Brad Mapes believes there are only a limited number of groups in Hay River that can run a Chase the Ace on their own.
“I think it’s going to be tough for some,” he said. “It’s a big undertaking for some groups. I think in the future you’re going to see several groups that will tie together to run it.”
The Chase the Ace bylaw has established a “decision matrix” which will award points to groups based on factors such as the ability to run such a lottery, benefits to the community or economic development, the number of people in an organization, and the number of user groups combining to submit an application.
Groups with the highest scores will receive priority status for licences.
The bylaw will allow only one Chase the Ace at a time for a maximum 52-week period, although that could end up being as short as just a week.
In Chase the Ace, people buy tickets to win the right to draw from a decreasing deck beginning with 52 cards in search of the ace of spades.
If that card is not drawn, the holder of the winning ticket receives 20 per cent of a week’s ticket sales, while 30 per cent goes to an accumulating jackpot and the remaining 50 per cent is retained by the licensee.
If the ace is drawn, the winner receives the jackpot and the weekly prize.