Nevada’s legal brothels, which took root in the mid-1800s silver-mining boom, are dwindling, down to about 19 from roughly 36 in 1985, according to George Flint, an industry lobbyist. Many have been the highest-profile businesses in their sparsely populated regions, and their decline hurts already-stretched county budgets and marks the end to local institutions -- though not the universally beloved sort.
The state’s flagging economy, decreased patronage by truckers squeezed by fuel costs and growing use of the Internet to arrange liaisons are to blame, managers say.
“A lot of our clients don’t have the discretionary income they had six years ago, five years ago,” said Susan Austin, 63, the madam of the Mustang Ranch in Sparks, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Reno. “The ones that can come in, they aren’t spending quite what they were spending before.”
Recent years have not been kind to Nevada. The 18-month recession that began in December 2007 still holds a grip on the state. It had America’s highest unemployment rate in July, 9.5 percent, compared with 7.4 percent nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the last quarter of 2007, the state’s economic health has declined 46 percent, according to the Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States. That’s second-worst in the nation behind New Mexico. Read more >>