This article originally appeared on WKOW Website. View the video and original article here: https://www.wkow.com/news/dane-co-bar-raffle-out-pays-out-over-100k-despite-being-deemed-illegal/article_654da9b4-21d3-11ee-b4ca-e35cc13e8f19.html?fbclid=IwAR247w1EyhBEI_sSPCa09vrhJ5iNHt_n6qrOajC1DrMUKuNROJu8WhT57Dg
MOUNT HOREB, Wis. (WKOW) — The organizers of a Dane County bar raffle have mixed feelings after their raffle awarded a Wisconsin man a nearly six-figure prize and thousands to a non-profit group after the game was deemed illegal by state officials.
For approximately one year, a Queen of Hearts raffle game was staged weekly at The Dog House Bar & Grill in Mount Horeb. The game’s grand prize was slated to go to the person who had the raffle ticket corresponding to the revealing of the queen of hearts from a deck of cards.
Bar owner Nate Faust said other cards were randomly picked weekly and with many weeks and no queen, the raffle-pot grew to $140,000.
30% of the raffle’s proceeds always went to Felicia’s Closet, a Waunakee-based non-profit that gives furniture, home accessories, toys and other items to victims of domestic abuse and their family members as they transition from homelessness to stable housing.
Felicia’s Closet Executive Director Felicia Diny said she’s state-licensed to carry out raffles and believed the Queen of Hearts version at the Mount Horeb bar met state standards.
However, Faust said two Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation agents came to his bar recently and told him the raffle was illegal. The agents told Faust and Diny a raffle was not allowed to have a progressive pot of money.
That said, state officials allowed the raffle to go on as long as a grand prize winner was selected at the raffle’s next drawing.
Diny said the queen of hearts was revealed from only four, remaining face-down cards and the Wisconsin man with the raffle ticket for the card received $90,000. Diny’s non-profit group received $43,000.
Diny was astounded by the windfall of funds.
“God, it’s huge,” Diny said. “We’ve been fundraising for three years and that’s the most amount of money we have raised ever.”
Diny and Faust said the progressive pot raffle involved many community members and businesses.
Diny has started a petition to appeal to elected leaders to permit raffle games with progressive prize pools.