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Illegal prostitution cutting into legal brothel businesses

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 7/25 12:22 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Nevada’s legal brothels are struggling for survival, and a longtime advocate blames illegal prostitution in Clark and Washoe counties.

George Flint, a lobbyist for Nevada brothels at the Nevada Legislature, says some owners are making a profit despite hard times, but others have gone out of business.

Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Mound House, a bordello made famous on the HBO series “Cathouse,” says there were 32 brothels in Nevada when he entered the business in 1992. Now there are 18.

“The business has shrunk. Why?” asks Hof, who owns six other brothels. “Because of the Internet, poor operators, not having a quality product and not updating the facility. This ain't your daddy's old cathouse.”

Flint claims the Las Vegas yellow pages offer “800 pages” advertising adult entertainment.

“They don't admit in the yellow pages that it's pure and controlled sex,” Flint says. “They talk about massage and all kinds of things like that, but in reality it's out and out prostitution.”

Making a comparison, Hos wonders if it would be okay to start a business called “We are Drugs” and let people advertise it.

“What would they do? They'd close it down.”

Flint says beyond hurting legal brothels, illegal prostitution on the Las Vegas Strip hurts Las Vegas, from robberies to sexually-transmitted diseases to assaults.

At the Hof’s Love Ranch in Crystal, Madam Sonya walks the halls. “America needs to get out of its sexual adolescence,” she says. “Grow up a bit.”

“This is very similar to a college dorm environment,” she says of the 8,000 square-foot brothel that recently underwent a million-dollar facelift. “You can go anywhere from a day, to days to weeks. I actually had a married couple do a two-week vacation at the brothel.”

The doorbell rings and the working girls file out and line up.

“Men want what they want; and it's not necessarily the magazine version of what we’re told men want,” Sonya says.

Hof says his model for success in the brothel business is to spend money to make money, to keep the customers happy and the employees loyal.

“You want to be here, great,” Hof adds. “You don't want to be here, a lot of other girls do. I don't have to force these girls to be here; they want to be here.”

Does saving the industry mean taking an enormous step and simply legalizing prostitution across the state? Coming up Friday, News 3 takes a look at that side of the story as this special report continues.

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