Township Officials to Meet Tonight with Dyngles’ Owner

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – A meeting tonight in township hall could produce a resolution on how public officials and the operators of Barry Dyngles Pub plan to conduct the next – and possibly final – drawing of the Queen of Hearts game.

“I’m confident we’ll reach an agreement,” says Michael Dockry, township administrator.

Dockry says he and the township’s police chief, Robert Gavalier, will meet with Shawn Hannon, owner of Barry Dyngles, at 7 p.m. Trustee Jim Davis is also expected to attend.

“We think, from what we’ve heard through third parties, that we might be able to reach a deal, and tell him how we want him to handle these things going forward, whether it’s one more time or seven or eight times.”

By times, Dockry means the number of drawings that could be held. Eight cards remain to be flipped on the Queen of Hearts board. There’s been discussion about whether the next drawing should be the last – that tickets could be drawn until the queen’s elusive face is flipped. There’s also talk about whether the drawing should be moved to a large public venue – or if the winner must be present to receive the full jackpot.

The last time tickets were drawn, Sept. 16, the crowd inside and outside the restaurant on Raccoon Road was estimated at nearly 10,000. That night the jackpot was $778,203. The next time tickets are drawn, the jackpot will be more than $1 million, and perhaps considerably higher, depending on the date set.

Township trustees are scheduled to meet in special session at 11 a.m. Friday when any agreement reached tonight is expected to be ratified, Dockry says. If there is not agreement, trustees will publicly discuss the township’s options.

A few months ago, when township officials  first got wind of how the jackpot was accumulating, Dockry says they contacted the Ohio Department of Liquor Control to notify regulators of the situation. The agency confirmed that Dyngles was operating within the law and regularly communicating with the liquor board.

Enforcement of public safety gives he township authority over the operations of the private business. Zoning code also comes into play. “The game is actually played on the [pub’s] premises, but the fact of the matter is it’s drawing people all over the place and it’s not limited to his premises,” Dockry explained.

The township administrator has nothing but praise for Dyngles’ ownership and how it has handled the publicity and huge crowds generated by the game. “From Day One, when we started to see this thing build, they have cooperated totally,” he said.

Officials asked the pub to hire  sufficient off-duty police officers to provide security, which it did. Fire inspectors ensured that occupancy limits were met, which were never a problem, and the crowds have been “well-behaved.”

The only complaints the township has received, Dockry said, are about litter left after the drawings – a minor inconvenience for nearby businesses that have also benefited from the huge crowds.

Pictured: The crowd outside Barry Dyngles in early September, when the jackpot was less than $300,000.

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