Nevada's 18 remaining legal brothels are suffering due to competition from illegal prostitution sparked by the Great Recession, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
The state had almost 40 brothels in the 1980s, and at their height served 400,000 clients a year. Now, according to George Flint of the Nevada Brothel Association, only a handful of brothels are doing well financially, as customers turn to unlicensed independent sex workers who can charge significantly less.
“Instead of paying $400 for a room at a brothel, these guys can now go out and get the same service for a third of the money,” Flint told the NY Daily News.
Prostitution is illegal within the city of Las Vegas, where 30,000 illegal sex workers are believed to operate.
A 2012 poll reported that 66% of Nevada residents believe prostitution should be legal throughout the state, including in Las Vegas.
The Nevada state legislature is considering a bill that would impose an 8% flat tax on all live entertainment at businesses throughout the state. Brothels would be included under the bill.
Nevada is the only American state or territory with legal prostitution. Prostitution outside of licensed brothels is illegal under Nevada law, and the brothels are situated mainly in isolated rural areas in counties with low populations.