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A Vegas Notion: Selling Sex Now Permitted in Papers.

Newspaper ads generate traffic. Just ask Bobbi Davis, owner of Nevada's Shady Lady Ranch and a plaintiff in a lawsuit that overturned a state law forbidding bordellos from advertising in Las Vegas media.

"It's doing good, it really is," she says about her new advertising. "A lot of people are calling, and a few people have even come on out."

That's saying something, because the brothel is located 150 miles from the Strip in a town named ... nothing. "Actually, we don't live in any town, we're in the middle of the desert," she adds.

Shady Lady's ads now run twice a week in the Daily Visitor Guide, which is wrapped around copies of the Las Vegas Review-Journal sold only on the Strip and the rest of the Resort Corridor. She also advertises in CityLife, an alt-weekly published by the R-J's parent, Stephens Media Group.

R-J Publisher and Stephens Media Group President Sherman Frederick points out that the bordello ad is not running in the daily newspaper itself, or in copies that go to subscribers or single-copy readers outside the tourist territory. "Obviously any publisher is going to look at a brothel ad and be a little concerned about, 'Is this something we want in the paper?'" he says.

But Frederick is proud that Stephens Media's CityLife joined with Davis, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the weekly High Desert Advocate in West Wendover in the federal lawsuit to overturn state statutes that prohibited brothels from advertising in the two Nevada counties, including Vegas' Clark County, where prostitution is illegal. He compared the 1979 laws to a statute overturned about a decade ago that had prohibited casinos from advertising their gambling services.

Shady Lady owner Davis said the law even prohibited advertising in the R-J for housekeepers and bartenders. She points out that her ad is far more staid than the ubiquitous strip club ads in Las Vegas media. It doesn't mention prices, which range from 20 minutes of "basic service" for $100 to "couples parties starting at $700 an hour."

Instead, it shows a couple in Victorian-style dress about to kiss -- and the notice that prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas.

That's a sore point with Davis: "If you ask 100 people in Vegas about prostitution, 95 will probably tell you it's legal."

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Author:Fitzgerald, Mark
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Oct 23, 2007
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