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A Gentleman's Guide to Las Vegas
Have a fantastic time on your Las Vegas vacation AND save money. Don't get hustled like a tourist!
From "National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation":
Rusty Griswold (teen son) "Isn't there legalized prostitution?"
Clark Griswold: (dad) "Not inside the city limits."
This movie quote illustrates one of the most famous urban legends - which I've also heard people repeat in real life - that
prostitution is legal in Las Vegas.
Prostitution is NOT legal in Las Vegas.
Why the rumor exists is because prostitution IS legal in many places in Nevada. Prostitution is NOT legal in
Clark County, Nevada
(which contains the Las Vegas
area) but IS legal in neighboring Nye County.
Perhaps due to the nickname "Sin City" and proliferation of adult oriented activities, the factual statement "prostitution is legal
in much of Nevada" becomes distorted through word of mouth into the untrue statement "prostitution is legal in Las Vegas."
Above:"porn slappers" on the strip enticing a middle-aged couple to take a free escort ad magazine.
The nickname "porn slappers" comes from the way they slap the magazine against their hand to get your attention,
and that some tourists refer to the escort ads as "porn" although they are not pornographic.
Below: more porn slappers. Notice that it isn't just men working the sidewalks, women slap the porn as well.
Below left: Business card sized escort advertisements like these litter the Las Vegas strip.
Below right: Free vending boxes full of larger magazine-format ads are positioned along the strip and some side streets.
Why is this important? Our opinion on the matter is that the urban legend helps to support some businesses in the Las Vegas area. A guy
who under ordinary circumstances would not hand over $500 cash to a complete stranger may be inclined to do so if he brought $5,000
with him to gamble in Las Vegas and believes he has stumbled into an opportunity to purchase fully legal prostitution services.
As you can see in the photos above, (or if you've visited Las Vegas) handing out escort ads on the Las Vegas strip (Las Vegas Blvd.)
is a big business. Every day, 24 hours a day, groups of people stand on the sidewalk enticing passers by to take magazine sized and
business card sized escort advertisements. Most of them are in the busy center strip area between the MGM Grand / New York New York
and Treasure Island / Wynn.
During our December 2008 trip to Las Vegas, we noticed (it's hard NOT to notice) that the escort-ad-passer-outers are now sporting
t-shirts that read "Girls Direct To Your Room" and some have lighted electric signs STRAPPED TO THEIR BACKS. (It's right there in the
photo.) I don't know if they get paid by the hour or if it's a piece rate paid per ad handed out... but they're obviously motivated
and making money. Just for fun I took an ad from one guy and then stood next to him, trying to get pedestrians to take the ad from me.
I had a taker by the 7th or 8th passer by. It was a single guy but again as you can see in the photo, they'll hand escort ads to
ANYONE who walks by. A mom with a stroller, a group of 90 year old nuns, they don't care. The ads might be rated "PG" at best -
they consist entirely of photos of models in bikinis and skimpy attire, prices, phone numbers, and names. "Kim $89 702-123-4567".
It's nothing shocking or outrageous so you don't need to be TOO concerned about bringing children to Las Vegas.
If you do an online search, you won't find many customer reviews of these "sidewalk ad" escorts. Do you wonder why that is?
We think two things are at work here, one is the urban legend we mentioned above, the other is the "embarrassment factor." A group of guys
who just turned 21 are walking the Las Vegas strip, taking escort ads, talking about "hey did you know that prostitution is legal in
Las Vegas?" While the escort ads are completely honest and upfront about what you're getting... a "girl to your room"... a young man's
hormones and overactive imagination lead him to expect something more. After all, prostitution is legal here! (He thinks.)
So our 21-year-olds go back to their rooms, dial the numbers on the ads and order some $89 escorts. When the escort arrives, she announces "that's just the
agency fee... if you want me to stay it's $300 (or whatever number she likes to use) more."
And what do you think Mr. 21 with the hard six is gonna do? Yeah, he's going to give her more money. Prostitution is legal! (He thinks.)
Ms. Escort knows exactly what Mr. 21 is thinking. She's been doing this for 2 years. This guy is customer number 1,428. But this
is his FIRST Las Vegas escort. He's at a huge, almost insurmountable disadvantage.
"You want the SPECIAL Show? That includes EVERYTHING. It's $1,200. Oh, you don't have $1,200? How much do you have? $500? OK, I will give
you a discount since it's your FIRST TIME in Vegas."
As soon as the $500 leaves Mr. 21's hands, Ms. Escort's tone may change dramatically.
(cell phone ring tone) "Hello? OH MY GOSH, my mother was in a car wreck, I have to go to the hospital!" (Ms. Escort runs out of the room
with Mr. 21's $500.)
That's an extreme example of being ripped off. Something like that may or may not happen.
What's essential to remember is that PROSTITUTION IS NOT LEGAL in Las Vegas. Mr. 21, not knowing this, is going to feel ripped off no
matter what happens. And there is the embarrassment factor. When he goes back home to Kansas, he may warn his pals about the scam...
or he's just as likely to play the big shot and make up a story about the wild sex he had for $89. Which helps keep the legend alive.
The main thing you NEED to know if you're visiting Las Vegas for the first time is this: if it sounds too good to be true, it's not true. The sidewalk ads
deliver exactly what they advertise: a GIRL TO YOUR ROOM for a specific price. That's exactly what you get. A girl comes to your room.
NO MORE, NO LESS. It's that simple. You can get the same thing by ordering a pizza delivery.
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