Legal brothels suffering in recession, too |

Legal brothels suffering in recession, too

Like nearly every other business, Nevada’s legal brothels are suffering in the recession.

George Flint, head of the Nevada Brothel Owners Association, said Wednesday several of Nevada’s brothels ” particularly the more remote locations ” have shut down because business was so poor.

“This industry has been affected just as much as all the other industries,” he said. “We’re highly affected because we live off disposable income.”

And disposable income, Flint said, is in short supply for many.

He said the wealthy customers are still there for some brothels, but many of the middle-class wage earners aren’t frequenting the houses because of the economy.

For some brothels, he said, business has been cut in half by the economy.

And contrary to what many people believe, he said, many of the women working in the brothels aren’t the stereotypical single, young, transient female.

“A lot of our women are married or single moms with kids and mortgages,” he said. “They’re having trouble meeting their bills.”

Flint said the business was hit hard during the summer when gasoline and diesel prices skyrocketed. That sharply reduced business from truckers and traveling businessmen.

“We still get some out-of-state customers but business people are not traveling as much,” he said.

Flint said Nevada is now down to about 23 legal brothels. The Old Bridge Ranch at Mustang, Playmate Ranch at Mina, Penny’s in Winnemucca, Angel Ladies in Beatty and the Cottontail Ranch at Lida Junction in Esmeralda County have all shut their doors. Although, in the case of the Bridge Ranch, the problem was that the owner was sentenced to prison for possession of child pornography.

The Cottontail operated for more than 35 years and Mustang was the site of at least one operating brothel since the early 1960s.

Nevada is unique among the states in allowing most counties to decide for themselves whether to allow brothels. The business is illegal in Washoe, Carson City and Clark County. But it remains legal in 12 counties, including Lyon and Storey where the taxes levied on brothels are a source of local government revenues.

Only one other state, Rhode Island, has no law barring prostitution. But that state does prohibit pimping (living off the income of prostitutes) and the operation of brothels.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.