Edmonton

Oilers 50/50 closes early after hitting record $5.4M

The Edmonton Oilers' online 50/50 sale ahead of Wednesday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks was closed nearly six hours before puck drop after it reached the maximum number of tickets sold for a day.

Total estimated pot of Wednesday's 50/50 draw is $5,417,130

Oilers will play Game 3 of their five round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. (David Bajer/CBC News)

The Edmonton Oilers' online 50/50 sale ahead of Wednesday night's game against Chicago was closed nearly six hours before puck drop after it reached the maximum number of tickets sold for a day.

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation announced Wednesday afternoon on Twitter that due to "historic, record-setting sales" the event had to be closed. The draw hit the server provider's maximum allowable ticket sales, the Oilers Entertainment Group said in a release.

The total estimated pot of Wednesday's 50/50 draw is $5,417,130. The winner will take home $2,708,565, a world record for sports 50/50 draws, the release added.

The winning ticket number will be posted online no later than 11:30 p.m.

Ticket sales for the draw opened at 9 a.m. and would typically end at 10:30 p.m. Whoever wins usually has three business days to claim their winnings.

Wednesday's historic draw follows Game 1 of Edmonton's qualifying round series on Saturday, where the 50/50 pot was $762,550, and Game 2 on Monday, where the pot ballooned to more than $3.2 million.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor Cannabis allowed the Oilers' typical 50/50 draw to be taken online for the first time this year as the Oilers compete in the postseason with no fans in attendance.

Edmonton's most recent 50/50 draws are a far cry from what these contests at typical Oilers games usually bring in. Daniel Lewis, CEO of Ascend Fundraising Solutions, said most 50/50 contests for Oilers games at Rogers Place are worth around $100,000. Moving the contest online has created a new layer of demand, Lewis said.

Lewis said that Ascend is looking into the regulatory limitations they need to deal with to increase the amount of tickets they can offer.

"We are aggressively adding capacity, you can see progressively we're doing better, so we think that we're going to continue to improve to allow those numbers to grow," Lewis said.

Darlene Kowalchuk, executive director with the Christmas bureau of Edmonton, said that the growing pots of money in these 50/50 contests have had a positive effect for local charities who are also reaping the rewards of the draw, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I thank Edmontonians and those in Alberta that are buying these 50/50 tickets," Kowalchuk said. "Because, although they may be looking to win that big pot, the realization is they are supporting many in our community that are struggling and without that support people would be far worse off."

Another Oilers 50/50 draw will open Friday morning for Game 4 of their series with Chicago.

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