Viva Las Vegas
Major adult film stars like Christi Lake, Ashlyn Gere, Serenity (who has her own line of sex toys and calls herself "the Susan Lucci of adult entertainment") and Lisa Lipps live in Las Vegas, and successful adult-oriented companies ranging from Arrow Productions and VCX on the film/video side, to Legendary Lars' well-known Streamray Inc./Cams.com operation on the webmaster side, also call Las Vegas home.
Lars estimates that "50 to 100 adult webmasters of note" probably are based there. The city boasts a long list of strip clubs, and professional domination is very easy to come by in Sin City — a dominatrix can earn an excellent living catering to either local clients or affluent businessmen who come to town for numerous conventions.
Los Angeles continues to be the adult entertainment capital of the world, but adult filmmaker Paul Interlandi (who plans to move from L.A. to Las Vegas) asserts that for adult businesses, Sin City can be a very hip and affordable alternative to the San Fernando Valley. Interlandi, whose companies Moonlight Pictures and Freedom Distribution merged with Ray Pistol's Arrow Entertainment, told XBiz: "There are numerous advantages to moving to Las Vegas if you are operating an adult business — lower overhead, lower taxes, cheaper property, cheaper warehouse space, lower production costs. Housing costs are a lot less; the San Fernando Valley has become so expensive."
Income taxes are often cited as a major reason why businesses — both mainstream and adult — have been relocating to Las Vegas. In contrast to New York City, for example, where one must pay city, state and federal income taxes, Las Vegas residents pay only federal income taxes. Nevada imposes no state income or corporate taxes, although Clark County does have property taxes and a 7.5 percent sales tax.
In Las Vegas, an organization called the Sin City Chamber of Commerce has been aggressively promoting the area as a place where adult-oriented entrepreneurs should do business. Loretta Holt, the organization's president, asserted that the abundance of conventions — adult as well as mainstream — held in Las Vegas make Sin City a logical place to operate adult businesses.
"Las Vegas is becoming the No. 1 destination for conventions," Holt told XBiz, "and conventioneers are notoriously interested in pursuing adult entertainment. Las Vegas was, is and always will be known as Sin City. Any other place in the U.S. will never come close to having a comparable nickname — in this century, at least. If you are going to run an adult-oriented business, you should go where the action is and where it is openly sought after."
Legendary Lars noted that while Vegas has been an attractive location for Streamray (which has been Vegas-based since 1998) and other adult companies, not everyone who lives there believes that Las Vegas should be Sin City. "You would think that Las Vegas would be really loose and easygoing," Lars explained, "but when we were looking for buildings to rent, we had a very difficult time finding people who would rent to us because a lot of the buildings in Las Vegas are owned by Mormons — and Mormons don't like the porn industry."
Holt acknowledged that the Mormon presence in Las Vegas is sometimes problematic for adult companies, however, she claims that social conservatives go against the grain when they try to promote Las Vegas as anything other than Sin City.
"There are those who try to ignore or demean the adult activities that go on in Las Vegas but have no problem taking the revenue that results from it — either directly or indirectly — and taking it to their banks," she said. "There are still lots of small strip clubs, but the number of 'gentleman's clubs' has increased tenfold over the past five to 10 years. They are no longer the dark, back-alley, smoky joints of the past but eclectic, elegant and as upscale as the first-class nightclubs in town. 'Escort' services are on the rise. There are 140 pages in the Las Vegas Yellow Pages dedicated to adult 'entertainers,' and there is talk right now of legalizing a 'red light' district in the downtown area of Las Vegas."
Legendary Lars (who said that Streamray Inc. employs approximately 60 people in Las Vegas) asserted that while the lack of California state taxes is very appealing to Las Vegas-based adult businesses — including Streamray — it is most unlikely that Los Angeles will ever cease to be the adult entertainment capitol of the world. Lars stressed that despite L.A.'s high overhead, a long list of major adult companies are quite happy to be based in California's Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Tarzana or Encino.
"Los Angeles will continue to be the main city for adult entertainment," Lars emphasized. "Los Angeles and Las Vegas offer different things, and the San Fernando Valley is always going to be the place where the majority of the adult industry's talent hangs out. The only way that will change is if something major happens politically in California. But I think you'll continue to see a lot of adult companies opening in Las Vegas, and I think that a lot of the companies that are already based in Vegas will continue to prosper and grow."