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Jackpot Bar and Grill replaces pub plagued by violence

The former site of the notoriously violent Scoundrels Pub on South Decatur Boulevard has been occupied by Jackpot Bar and Grill since December.

Jackpot owner Liza Ochiai began leasing the building in June 2016 and refurbished the 24-hour gaming establishment and restaurant to include a stone entryway and sign, replacing the yellow stucco exterior and red neon Scoundrels Pub logo.

Ochiai is the owner and operator of Aloha Kitchen, a Hawaiian-themed restaurant with five locations across the Las Vegas Valley, including one a few miles north of Jackpot at 2605 S. Decatur Blvd.

Ochiai declined to comment on the history of the building but said she had been offered to rent the location several times before accepting.

“I looked at it, and I saw potential,” Ochiai said. “There is housing across from us. There’s good visibility … so I said, ‘Let me try it.’”

Scoundrel’s Pub closed in December 2015 following a fire and revocation of its liquor license. In 2016, former owner David John Zderic surrendered the pub’s gaming license as well his own after receiving scrutiny from the Gaming Control Board and Metropolitan Police Department over violent incidents that occurred there between 2009 and 2015.

Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo told the Review-Journal in August 2016 it was the first surrender of a license “in a couple of years,” and it was the first time he remembered during his time on the board that a gaming license was surrendered because of violence.

“A revocation of a license doesn’t happen frequently,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said in an interview with View this month. “It’s a drastic remedy. When the board reaches its zenith in patience with a licensee, it’s something we can do. It doesn’t happen every day, for sure.”

During the hearing for Scoundrels in August 2016, Deputy Attorney General Ed Magaw, who represented the state, called Scoundrels “an unfixable location.”

A history of violence

In December 2015, Metro contacted the Control Board regarding “the ongoing problems it was having related to Scoundrels and its concerns over the safety of the employees and patrons of the establishment,” according to a complaint filed in August 2016.

In 2009, Scoundrels was documented by Metro as a hangout for gangs. The department logged six gang-related shooting events either inside or directly outside Scoundrels from 2009 to 2015.

In that same period, Metro had 144 calls for service at the bar, 97 of which were labeled as “violent.” In 2015 , there were 30 calls for service, of which 17 were labeled as violent, the complaint states. The complaint also describes in detail three shootings that occurred on the Scoundrels site in 2015.

On Jan. 20, 2015, a shooting occurred in which the building was struck by “at least nine bullets, some of which perforated the exterior wall and struck furniture inside the location,” though no one was injured.

Another shooting with no injuries followed on April 5, though several rounds penetrated into the building and caused interior damage.

A shooting that occurred on Dec. 5 originated in the Scoundrels parking lot and involved four different shooters in several locations. A Metro investigation estimated that 60 to 70 rounds of ammunition were fired in the area.

According to the Nevada secretary of state’s website, Scoundrels Pub, Inc., Zderic’s business that owned the pub, has been dissolved. Its license expired Nov. 30.

Zderic sold the property to another business, Decatur Square LLC, in July 2013 for $870,000, Clark County assessor records show. He had owned the property since September 1972, according to records.

Ochiai applied and received her own gaming license for Jackpot in May, she said. There are several video gaming machines in the restaurant, and Ochiai said there will soon be a weekly poker night, though poker games will just be for fun and will only involve chips.

Ochiai has introduced other activities at the bar including karaoke nights, comedy open mics and trivia nights hosted by Geeks Who Drink and Brainstormer.

Burnett said that a location’s prior history is “absolutely” taken into consideration when deciding to offer a new gaming license, even if it’s a different business and different operator. The board looks at clientele, surveillance, what types of food and drink are offered, how many gaming machines will be offered, who the operator is and if he or she had previous issues.

“We always have an option to look at the calls for service and review the license six months to a year down the road,” Burnett said.

Contact Madelyn Reese at mreese@viewnews.com or 702-383-0497. Follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

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