Queen of Hearts Legal

Queen of Hearts Legal

This card game first gained notoriety in 2015. It’s currently not governed by any of the agencies responsible for gaming in Ohio. Why? Because it’s more like a “pool game” (think the office pool or NCAA basketball tourney pool) where 100% of the proceeds are paid out.

The game is played with a regular deck of 52 cards plus two jokers. Each card is randomly assigned a number between 1 and 54 and put face down on a board. Customers buy tickets to enter a drawing. Each week a ticket is selected and the card corresponding to the number picked by the ticketholder is revealed. The objective is the Queen of Hearts, so the drawings continue until that card is drawn. There are some variations where other designated cards have smaller payouts. The person who draws the Queen of Hearts gets 90% of the pot. The remaining 10% is rolled over to the next game.

A Cleveland bar conducted one of these games where it took 50 weeks to draw the Queen of Hearts. The winning payout was over $5.5 million. This drew the attention of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor who asked the Ohio Attorney General for an opinion on the legality of the game. Attorney General Mike DeWine has declared the game legal, for now. In a press release, DeWine stated that “games such as this would not violate the law if the game had a meticulous and defined set of rules, all money collected from participants was distributed to winners by the game’s final round, and the proprietor did not take a cut of the prize pool.”

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