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Festival 50/50 draws could be much bigger in 2018

By including the United Way, daily jackpots could soar at Stars and Thunder
Day 5 Stage view
Music fans who gobbled up 50/50 tickets last year will likely be in for bigger jackpot payouts in 2018. Andrew Autio for TimminsToday

The highly popular 50/50 draws at the Stars and Thunder festival will likely have a different structure in 2018, and one that could lead to an even bigger payday for one lucky concert goer each night.

The matter was discussed at Tuesday night's council meeting during a Stars and Thunder planning update, after city hall had been contacted by numerous charities and non-profit groups recently.

City of Timmins CAO Dave Landers explained that there have been discussions with the United Way to 'act as an umbrella organization' as they have a provincial lottery license.

At last year's festival, daily 50/50 draws were capped out at a $50,000 total value, which occurred multiple times. On Canada Day, tickets were sold out by early afternoon.

"The license that the United Way carries would allow them to exceed the $50,000 payout that we saw last year," said Landers.

He said the United Way has been in discussions with the AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) to ensure the proposal would meet the proper regulations.

"We're currently in negotiations with them. We've had a bit of back-and-forth as we're working out the details, and we hope to come to council at the end of the month."

Basically, the city is aiming to expand the amount of funds generated for local charities, and increase the amount of organizations who would benefit during the eight day event.

Councillor Joe Campbell asked how the beneficiaries would be decided upon.

"Who's going to make the decision? The United Way? Or the committee?"

Landers said the idea currently is to have a few members of the Stars and Thunder committee work with the United Way, and that it would follow a similar structure to the city's 'grants to organizations' policy.

Mayor Steve Black added that any non-profit organization who will volunteer at the festival can apply.

"We're going to work this out and bring it to council for approval, but we are going to incorporate an application process," said Landers.

Once council approves the agreement with the United Way, the application criteria will be made public. In 2017, the lone beneficiary was Science Timmins who raised $211,000 after eight days.