The city of McHenry on Monday voted to reduce its raffle payout limit from $6 million to $3 million ahead of the popular Queen of Hearts game.
McHenry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4600 hosts the game. The jackpot reached more than $7 million in the last round before a Schaumburg woman won in September. The starting date for a new round hasn’t been set, but the jackpot will start at $3.4 million.
The city raised its raffle limit multiple times to accommodate the game last year but are now attempting to rein it in because of traffic and safety concerns. VFW officials have said they will start the new round with half a deck of cards to move the game forward quickly.
The payout limit will decrease from $3 million to $1 million July 31, when the game is projected to be complete. The limit is on what a winner can take home.
City Council members originally wanted to reduce the limit on July 1 but Ben Keefe, the club’s senior vice commander, said Monday that the game may need to start later than expected while parking lot construction is underway.
“The parking lot may not be ready until June 1,” he told the council.
When the raffle ended in September, the organization collected 20 percent, or $1,416,106, of the $7,080,528 pot and has put the money toward repairs to the facility and parking lot, 3002 Route 120, officials have said.
A new concrete parking lot was projected to cost $900,000 and a 12-foot privacy fence on the west side of the property cost $5,000, VFW Cmdr. Dwayne Lungren has said.
The club will not sell tickets or hold a drawing while the 11-day Fiesta Days festival takes place July 11 to July 21, Keefe said at Monday’s meeting.
Queen of Hearts is a game where cards are placed in individual, numbered envelopes and put on a board. People have a chance to buy raffle tickets for a chance to guess which envelope holds the Queen of Hearts card. The drawing is weekly.
The person who pulls the Queen of Hearts card gets 60 percent of the jackpot, minus taxes. The VFW keeps 20 percent and another 20 percent goes into starting the new pot.