Nfld. & Labrador

Ticket-buying frenzy as clock ticks down to Goulds final Chase the Ace draw

The popular Chase the Ace fundraiser in the Goulds area of St. John's will end later tonight with someone set to win more than $2 million.

Watch CBC NL's live stream on our Facebook page starting around 7:30 p.m. NT

Lottery hopefuls line up for tickets for the final Chase the Ace draw by St. Kevin's Parish in Goulds. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

Long lines are forming in the streets around St. Kevin's Parish in the Goulds area of St. John's, as the wildly popular Chase the Ace fundraiser will end later tonight — with someone set to win more than $2 million in an event that has drawn tens of thousands to the area in the last several weeks.

The game, which involves buying tickets on a chance to pull the winning ace of spades from a deck of cards, has been a major fundraiser for several communities and church groups in Atlantic Canada over the last couple of years.

You can watch our live stream of the final draw tonight on the CBC NL Facebook page or on our website. The stream should begin around 7:30 p.m. NT

Despite eight cards remaining in the deck, organizers decided to change the rules of the game slightly to ensure that someone will draw the ace of spades tonight and win the jackpot, which had reached $1,949,117 last week.

It has been an incredible run that started in October 2016, but the start of the school year is approaching and organizers decided tonight will be the last Chase the Ace draw. 

Big crowds

The area surrounding St. Kevin's Parish has been swamped with people on Wednesdays for the last several weeks, and more than 70,000 are expected to flood in for the final chance to win millions.

Some had already arrived in Goulds on Tuesday night, setting up RVs and travel trailers to get in on both the big draw and the festival-like atmosphere, with some saying the wait in line to buy tickets had reached several kilometres by noon.

If the ace is not turned over on the first ticket draw, that ticket-holder will receive the consolation prize, which is based on 20 per cent of ticket sales that night.

Following that, there will be more draws for a chance to pull the ace of spades from the deck. Each ticket-holder who does not reveal the ace of spaces will get a $25,000 consolation price, and that continues until someone pulls the winning card and takes home the jackpot.

There will also be a 50/50 draw, which last week reached $348,095.

The line to purchase tickets for Wednesday's final Chase the Ace draw was weaving through residential neighbourhoods by 10 a.m., with posts on social media saying staff estimated at least a five-hour wait. (Twitter/@soxchicky)

Tonight's 50/50 draw is set to take place at 8:15 p.m. followed by the Chase the Ace draw at 8:20 p.m. Someone then has to verify the ticket at one of five sites in the area.

Traffic and crowds are expected to build in Goulds throughout the day, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is asking people to respect road closures and no-parking signs.

With the lineup snaking through Goulds streets, some early ticket buyers may have spotted an opportunity; lottery hopeful Matt Byrne said he hadn't been in the lineup very long when he was approached by a scalper.

Ace-chaser Matt Byrne says he was approached by a scalper offering single tickets for $20 apiece. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

"A guy was walking by saying he had extra tickets and he would sell them for $20 apiece. Nobody seemed all that interested, and he just kept on going. I don't know where he ended up," said Byrne.

That's 12 times the actual selling price of the tickets, which cost $5 for three.

More information on the draw can be found below or on St. Kevin's Parish's Facebook page.

Follow along with what's happening in Goulds with our Chase the Ace live blog below:

On mobile? See the live blog here.