Nevada Brothels Hit Hard by Gas Prices

Davis, 76, who attributes much of Shady Lady's success to his 54-year-old wife's "brilliance and marketing," says that the majority of its profits come from people driving out from Vegas, mostly men on business trips who generate "a ton of repeat business."

"Next month we're going to give a gas card out and we think that will help some," Jim Davis says.

July's promotion offers customers a $50 gas card if they spend at least $300 on services there.

"Good service and a friendly atmosphere will win over gas prices any day," he says.

One-man promotional machine Dennis Hof, the self-proclaimed "PT Barnum of booty," says he lives in another world, "the bunny world."

The owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch has been insulated from economic trouble, thanks to frequent national news coverage and HBO's cinema verite series "Cathouse," a documentary-style portrayal of the Bunny Ranch that debuted in 2002.

Business is up 20 percent for the year, says Hof, thanks in part to his latest promotions. His nationwide Father's Day radio contest asked callers to nominate their dad for a VIP Bunny Ranch booty pass, and June 11 Hof vowed to double the value of any IRS stimulus check that a customer cashed at the brothel and used on a Ranch Pleasure Party.

"The sex doesn't last long," he says. "The party is what it's all about."

Hof's persistence has paid off in a Web site that gets 125 million hits a month and a database of more than 17,000 women who have expressed interest in working for him. "Most girls are making a six figure income in a year, some a mid-six figure income," he says. He hires around eight women a month and loses six or so every year.

Naudia, 26, is one of the many women who entered the brothel business last year. She joined the Wild Horse Adult Resort and Spa about seven months ago, a place she describes as the "five star of all brothels."

Longing to leave her nine-to-five "average lifestyle" in California, Naudia began researching other jobs on the Internet. "I wanted to be a dancer -- that's how I got involved in this," she says. By searching online she found a brothel advertisement.

"I had never even heard of a brothel before," she says. "It advertised that girls sometimes make $20,000 to $40,000 a week."

Her income isn't nearly as lavish, but it's lucrative enough that she says her "lifestyle has turned around."

The Wild Horse brothel is doing better than expected this quarter. Even so, Naudia says some of her fellow workers reminisce about earlier times when business was more robust.

"The girls tell me it used to be so much better," she says. "But I can't miss something I never had."

Rise of the 'Stay-cation'

Right now the Nevada Commission on Tourism is running commercials across state lines to lure tourists into the state. Within Nevada they're asking Las Vegas residents to visit Lake Tahoe, and encouraging people in Reno to go up highway 80 to Elko, a place commission spokeswoman Bethany Drysdale describes as the "heart of cowboy country."

She says Nevada's tourism industry is good overall, despite tough times in Sin City and Reno.

"Of course, gas prices are going to affect us," Drysdale says. "Gas prices are raising, airfare and everything, but we are such a drive destination as well. The whole state is projecting less tourism income than what was originally projected."

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