Keno News

Keno Kings Liquor License Request Fails to Pass Omaha City Councils Scrutiny

The proprietor of a keno establishment in the area of Benson were denied a license to offer alcohol on May 5th, 2010 after they objected to some of the conditions City Council members wanted to impose on the liquor license. Councilman Pete Festersen said that this is not a negotiation between them and owner of the keno hall.

The keno bar at 6553 Ames Avenue has long been under observation because of numerous complaints from the neighbors of the keno hall and from police officers about violence and noise. The facility attracted similar complaints when it was previously named the Claiborne Center.

In March 2010, the City Council required Jeff Rothlisberger, the owner of the keno hall, to submit an application to renew the license. Since then, police Captain Keith Harris informed the council, there have been six other officer calls to Omaha Keno King. Last year, the City Council awarded Rothlisberger a liquor license, but placed certain conditions on it.

Council members said that Rothlisberger violated some of those restrictions and tried to impose more specific conditions on the license this time, including no dance parties and no DJ's. Rothlisberger criticized an additional condition that would have blocked him from permitting someone to play music using a computer, which is bear similarities from a DJ.

Councilman Chris Jerram said that it is like a cat and mouse game with all the conditions that they have place in. Councilor Jerram said that he wish that were not the situation with the Keno King facility. Councilwoman Jean Stothert is also skeptical whether Rothlisberger and his employees really made an effort to follow the rules that they have imposed on them in 2009.

Rothlisberger said to the council that he is not perfect but the overall spirit of the deal was followed. He added that he does not know what else that they can do to make things right.

The City Council's decision to deny Keno King's liquor license application was five-two However; the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission can approve the license. If state officials approve Keno King's license, the office of the city attorney plans to petition them to enforce the rules that the City Council proposed, although there is no guarantee that state liquor officials will agree to enforce it.


John M. Thorpe