Some ‘Queen of Hearts’ raffles may not be legal

A newspaper investigation has found that at least a dozen raffles conducted largely by veterans’ organizations in southwest Illinois may not be in accordance with state law.

The Belleville News-Democrat says its investigation revealed that some Queen of Hearts raffles appear to violate parts of the state’s Raffles and Poker Runs Act. The investigation also found ordinances in cities hosting raffles don’t appear to be consistent with state law or enforced.

Gambling critics and experts say if state laws aren’t followed or enforced it could lead to issues, including the government seizing prize money.

The raffles started gaining popularity over the last two years. Players buy tickets in hopes of being drawn to choose a playing card from a board. If the player gets the queen of hearts they win the jackpot. If not, the game continues with an increasing jackpot.