Brothel owners see increased use in summer
Appeal Staff Writer
Brooke Taylor grins like she knew this would happen.
“It used to be that they’d experiment with their school friends,” she says, referring to female college students. “And now, they come here in the summertime instead.”
Though many of her other customers are regular clients, Taylor said she’s seen an increase in this trend and others, especially during the summer.
There’s more couples, too. More bikers. More graduates. More everything.
In general, the Moonlite BunnyRanch in Mound House has been getting more customers throughout the year because of the HBO television show “Cathouse: The Series,” Taylor said. The show is in its second season and is filmed at the ranch.
Who a customer is and how much that person spends varies, Taylor said, but the couples she sees, especially those who come in the summer, tend to spend more. They don’t have to hide what they’re doing from each other, she said.
“I guess when the kids are away at camp or over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, the parents can sneak away and come visit me.”
Dennis Hof, who owns the ranch and the BunnyRanch Two, another brothel just outside of Carson City, said the television series has brought in more customers, many of whom help bring in hundreds of thousands more dollars extra a month during the summer. He estimated that there is about a 15 to 20 percent increase in revenue during the season.
Some of the business increase from June to August, he said, is because of families visiting Reno or Lake Tahoe.
“What happens is they put Mom in the beauty salon or send Mom and the kids to the beach or some outing, and Dad sneaks down to the ranch.”
In September through October, the two brothels get increased traffic from retirees and couples without children who don’t have to vacation during June through August, according to Hof.
The Kit Kat Guest Ranch, also in Mound House, said it sees an increase in business in the summer because of visitors coming to events around Lake Tahoe and Carson City.
Marvin Gates, owner of the Sagebrush Ranch in Mound House, did not return calls for comment.
According to the Lyon County government, there are about 200 working girls at the four brothels in Mound House. The government wasn’t able to say if business changes seasonally, because the brothels don’t have to report their earnings and are taxed based on the number of rooms they have.
The idea that business seriously fluctuates during the summer due to any trend, however, isn’t true, said George Flint, lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners’ Association.
Area brothels might have a minor increase in business in the summer, Flint said, but anything else is a grasp for publicity. Flint said most brothel owners in the state run quiet, respectable businesses, a trend Hof often bucks.
Often referring to himself as “America’s Pimp Master General,” Hof has worked to get publicity by going on shows like the “The Howard Stern Show” and bringing in adult film stars to his brothels.
In part, this is because Hof, who is not a member of the Nevada Brothel Owners’ Association, and other brothel owners have not been allowed to advertise in most areas of the state, such as Carson City and Washoe County, where prostitution is illegal.
To show how far Hof would go for publicity, Flint pointed to Hof’s 1998 claim that business was doing better because old men could now buy an erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.
Candy Duncan, executive director of the Carson City Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Carson City does have a significant increase in tourism in the summer, but whether visitors coming to Carson City go to brothels or whether brothel customers go to Carson City is something she said she doesn’t know.
When visitors come to the city, it’s usually to tour political and historical sites. If those people go to brothels during their visits, Duncan said, “they don’t tell me about it.”
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at email@example.com or 881-1212.