When the College World Series started in Nebraska, the keno monitors temporarily shut down. That is what happened in Pauli's Sports and Spirits since 2001 when the first owner of the bar added keno to their offering, according to co-owner Paul Griego on June 26, 2007.
Temporarily stopping keno games frees some space at the bar and allows the bar's employees to focus on serving the thousands of baseball enthusiasts who go to the popular hangout on 40th and Leavenworth Street. But the city's new smoking ban has changed the face of the game as Griego discovered.
The officials of the city told Griego that if they will not offer keno, it also means a total smoking ban in the pub. Deputy City Attorney Tom Mumgaard said that the pub is only exempt from the smoking ban if they offer keno to their customers while the CWS continues.
Mumgaard commented that the city has received several complaints from Pauli's and a bar in Rosenblatt which Mumgaard declined to identify, violated the smoking ban by turning off their keno machines and allowing their customers to continue smoking.
It was the first time that he has been asked to investigate the matter. Griego said that he had no inkling that Pauli's was not following the smoking ban when the keno games were shut down and the bar was simply continuing with their usual operations.
The partial smoking ban, which was enforced last October, does not allow smoking in most public establishments. However, the smoking ban does allow smoking to continue until May 2011 at Horsemen's Park and at keno outlets, pubs that do not serve food and tobacco shops.
Nonetheless, Griego said that holding keno during the CWS is a logistical problem because around 2,000 - 3,000 people visit Pauli's during that time. The keno machines were turned on last week after the bar was notified by the city officials.
But with a lot of people requesting drinks, the bartenders hardly had the time to sell keno tickets. Pauli's has not been penalized for violating the smoking ban. Mumgaard said that the keno problem is just one of the several issues that popped up with the implementation of the smoking ban as businesses learn their way once again with the new laws.
The Benson VFW post argued to no avail that they are exempt from the ban because their eating area is located in a separate room from the bar area.
Monday, July 09 , 2007