CLEVELAND -- Hundreds gathered for the half-million dollar pot, but a winner wasn't in the cards.
Cleveland's Grayton Road Tavern has become the hot spot for Queen of Hearts, a jackpot game that's made its way into many Northeast Ohio bars.
Wednesday's jackpot reached $563,416, but no one emerged a winner. That means the prize money will rise next week as hundreds more gather with their fingers crossed.
Here's how it works: it's similar to playing the lottery. Pay $1 for a raffle ticket, fill out your name and phone number, then pick a card.
The queen of hearts card is hiding somewhere on a board, and your goal is to guess which one it is.
Ninety percent of the jackpot goes to the winner (if there is one). The other 10 percent is used to start the next round's jackpot.
But is it legal?
Here's what Attorney General Mike DeWine's website says:
"Queen of hearts is a game known to be played different ways.Whether a certain game is legal depends on specific facts and circumstances. As a general rule, when all proceeds collected in a queen of hearts game are paid out to the pool of all participants in the same game, it may be considered a “pool not conducted for profit,” which is not against the law in Ohio. However, if the operator takes a “cut” or “rake” of the proceeds, or if game proceeds are used to pay winners of other games, then the game may be a scheme of chance, which is illegal under Ohio law."
The site also explains that businesses aren't required to have a license to sell raffle tickets, as they are not considered bingo supplies, which do require license for distribution.
As long as bars use their 10 percent of the winnings to carry on the next pot, and don't pocket the money for profit, they're within the legal limitations.
So yes, in this case, the game is completely legal.