Chase the Ace jackpots won't be capped, says Premier Stephen McNeil

As the jackpot for Sydney's Chase the Ace reaches an unprecedented level, the province's Progressive Conservatives are wondering if other communities will be allowed to let their own ace lotteries reach similar levels in the future.

Sydney's Chase the Ace jackpot now at $2.6M

Volunteers have spent a year helping out at Chase the Ace events as the jackpot soared. (YouTube)

As the jackpot for Sydney's Chase the Ace reaches an unprecedented level, the province's Progressive Conservatives are wondering if other communities will be allowed to let their own ace lotteries reach similar levels in the future.

The jackpot has now reached $2.6 million, and with thousands of people expected to show up in the city on May 7 to participate in the next draw, it's bound to grow. 

During Question Period Tuesday, MLA Eddie Orrell asked if a cap on the game will soon be a part of the regulations. 

"Some are worried that the government is considering caving to behind the scenes pressures to cap the Chase the Ace jackpots," he said. "A cap would seriously deter non-profits."

Donelda MacAskill, 62, of Englistown, N.S., center, celebrates with volunteers after flipping over the ace of spades and winning more than $1.7 million in Inverness. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Pittman)

A 'phenomenon'

But the premier says he has no intention of putting the brakes on a thriving fundraiser. 

"Many not-for-profit organizations are benefiting greatly," Stephen McNeil said. "It's quite the phenomenon really. Congratulations to them."

McNeil says what the government is watching is the safety and integrity of the game.

In March, Sydney's massive lottery was put on hold by the gaming division after two ticket-holders showed up with the winning number.

Organizers say that was a printing error, and new changes have been implemented to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Safety with the crowds

They've also had to beef up security and safety measures, hiring a private security firm and partnering with Cape Breton Regional Police.

Thousands of tickets will be ready to go for Sydney's next draw on May 7. (CBC)

Police have issued strict rules for parking in an effort to control the crowd.

"This takes a tremendous number of people to continually make these events happen," said the premier. "The communities have done an outstanding job of really recognizing a time when they need a break."

Orrell says the Progressive Conservatives are also completely opposed to the idea of a cap, and wants to ensure the gaming lobby won't get involved and dampen the success of the communities.