A raffle contest for an East York restaurant has come to a halt after the company processing ticket payments backed out over legal concerns.

Ruthie Cummings, owner of Das Gasthaus, located near Danforth and Broadview Avenues, decided to leave the business to take care of her aging parents after nearly three years of serving up German cuisine in the neighbourhood.

But instead of selling the eatery, she chose to raffle it off. On Monday, Cummings started selling raffle tickets online for $150.

Contest participants could also mail in certified cheques or money orders to pay for their ticket. They also had the option of submitting an original, handwritten essay of at least 500 words, answering the question: “How can the quality of care for seniors be improved in Canada?”

Part of the ticket proceeds would go into making sure the restaurant is in good shape, and another chunk of the money would pay off any outstanding debts, so that the new owner would inherit hassle-free business in addition to getting a great deal.

But Eventbrite, the company processing online payments for the contest, stopped accepting money on Wednesday due to questions about the legality of the raffle.

While the restaurant owners say they consulted with lawyers to make sure the raffle did not break any lottery and gaming laws, the contest has been postponed.

Hundreds of people have already purchased ticket and hundreds have emailed the restaurant to express their interest in joining the contest.

The restaurant says it is in contact with other third-party payment companies and hopes to resume the contest once it finds a new company to process ticket sales.