Margaree Forks — A photo-op for a pair of lottery winners turned into chaos Thursday as two family members feuded over the winnings, stunning a small community and leaving everyone outside rural Nova Scotia still confused as to what Chase the Ace is exactly.
Barbara Reddick and her nephew, Tyrone MacInnis, won the contest by doing something like picking a card or guessing a lucky number, but what should have been a celebratory photo-op with a giant cheque turned sour as Reddick stormed out as soon as the cameras were off.
Reddick, who wrote her nephew’s name on the ticket or card or whatever for good luck, argues that MacInnis has no legal standing to share the winnings because of reasons that remain as unclear as the rules of the game itself.
“I bought the ticket and now he’s trying to lie and say I said split,” said Reddick, providing confirmation that Chase the Ace involves the purchase of a ticket.
“I said split with the 50/50, not with Chase the Ace,” she added, introducing another, more common form of lottery into the situation for some reason.
MacInnis, who maintains he had made a deal with his aunt to split the prize money should they win, said he would spend his share of the $1.2 million jackpot on a “new truck,” clearly not understanding that he is now rich enough to buy the entire town.
Chase the Ace, which materialized out of nowhere several years ago and is now played in every small community in Nova Scotia, has been a point of pride for the people of Margaree Forks.
“People here hate to see this kind of drama besmirch the time-honoured tradition of Chase the Ace,” said Chase the Ace organizer Alistair Cole, without bothering to explain the game’s history, or any of its major rules or mechanics.
Other residents think this family drama is only temporary, and that cooler heads will prevail.
“Tensions run high with Chase the Ace because folks invest years playing it, avoiding every other form of fundraising no matter how much more accessible or fun they may be,” said resident Peggy Gallagher.
“We can’t let this one bad episode ruin what we like to call ‘The Beautiful Game,'” she added, alluding to soccer, a very simple and easy-to-explain game understood by billions of people around the world for hundreds of years.
Despite her call for a lawsuit against her nephew, Reddick’s caught-on-camera meltdown is only the second reported case of public turmoil stemming from an nonsensical, ill-conceived lottery game. In 2013, Jeffrey Hayes of Gunning Cove, N.S., was arrested and charged with murdering everyone in the fishing village after the community refused to explain to him how “Jig the Joker” works.