The recession has hit most Americans pretty hard. Even for those households that managed to hold on to jobs, pay cuts and reduced hours have meant less discretionary income flowing in and so less dollars circulating for luxury goods and services. No place has felt the hurt in fun money evaporating more than Nevada, a state still known as the wild west, where the twin vices of prostitution and gambling can be legally indulged, just not, you know, in the same county. Today, two different strategies emerged to lure fools back to Nevada to part them with their money.
In this article from CNN, a new airline, LV Air, hopes to shuffle more people from the northeast via JFK International by offering a plane ride with a "club" atmosphere. Pulsating music, meals packed by casino chefs, intraplane texting and video chat, personal iPad movie viewers, and holographic Vegas celebrities to jazz up the stale flight safety speech will put travelers in the Vegas state of mind as soon as they step on the plane. Business class rates hopefully will be competitive with established carriers but first class accommodations, which will include 18 flat bed seats and decor from an undeclared casino partner, will run higher than other airlines because you're getting that high roller treatment. One novel service LV Air plans to offer is airport to room delivery of baggage so no more standing around at the baggage carousel waiting for the fun to start. Didn't Hooters try offering a similar "premium" air travel experience several years back? I wonder how well that's doing in these financial times...*
The other story comes to us from Slate. Looks like Harry Reid wants to stamp out the world's oldest profession in Nevada. But he's not opposed to it primarily on moral grounds. Oh no. The Senate Majority Leader wants to take the wild and wooly out of the west in order to make room for business. Vegas is a great place to visit for your company conventions but you wouldn't want to live there, at least that's the anecdote Reid told the state legislature on 22 February. What is currently happening in Vegas, it seems, literally stays in Vegas, keeping new business out and resulting in a stagnant economic climate. A certain unnamed firm wanted to open a data center in the desert but the moral litter of legal cat houses drove them away. And, according to Reid and others, this isn't the first time that sex for sale legally has prevented Nevada from attracting new jobs.
"Nevada needs to be known as the first place for innovation and investment—not as the last place where prostitution is still legal," Reid said. "When the nation thinks about Nevada, it should think about the world's newest ideas and newest careers—not about its oldest profession."
Reid is calling for Nevada to shut down legal sex work, which only employs about 1,000 people state-wide (not including the thousands of illegal sex workers operating without a license within Clark county where Las Vegas resides). He hopes that by shutting down the exchange of sex for money, more companies will show up to screw American workers in less prurient ways.
* Hooters Air went belly up April 17, 2006, a full seventeen months before the American economy started its meltdown.
EDIT 28/2/2011: The Onion weighs in on revoking legal prostitution in Nevada.