Strippers by the pool: Vegas casinos get sexier

Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:25pm EDT
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By Dan Whitcomb

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Brittany McClain spends her nights stripping at Sapphire gentlemen's club in Las Vegas under the stage name Electronica. By day she sunbathes topless at an adults-only pool at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

"My life now is, if I'm not stripping or at the pool, I'm sleeping," McClain said of the new partnership between the Rio and Sapphire that keeps her busy day and night.

The partnership also flirts with a longstanding separation between sex and gambling in Las Vegas. The desert city was built on gambling and has never shied away from sex, but Nevada laws have long kept the two vices strictly separate.

This reflects a new trend in Vegas, where casinos like the Rio, owned by Harrah's Entertainment Inc, are always looking for new ways to make money, especially in the current downturn.

"It brings the sexy angle to the casino business and that is what Vegas is all about right now," said Sapphire Senior Vice President John Lee. "All of the casinos are trying to get gentlemen's club-type entertainment without actually crossing that line."

Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage, the Venetian and the Wynn have also opened topless pools, but the Rio's Sapphire Pool is the first formal partnership between a casino and a strip club to keep its lounge chairs stocked with bare-breasted women.

The idea is for the women to attract men who will stick around and gamble at the Rio's tables. The Sapphire Pool charges men $30 to $50 admission and is fenced off from the Rio pool, where the women keep their swimsuit tops on.

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS ...   Continued...

<p>The famous sign at the south end of the Las Vegas strip in a file photo. REUTERS/Ethan Miller</p>