LAS VEGAS — Concerned that “The Act” nightclub could be considered obscene, the Palazzo hotel-casino is trying to evict the 10-month-old, $15 million venue from its premises.
The Palazzo — owned by the Las Vegas Sands — said the nightclub’s shows are raunchy and feature near-naked actors who toss condoms into the audience and simulate sex acts and bestiality on stage.
Casino officials reportedly told the club’s management that undercover security officers went into the venue in March and described some kinky scenes.
But the entertainers are fighting back, saying that the Sands "manufactured this 'breach' in an attempt to improperly evict" it.
"We believe we are on the leading edge of the next evolution of nightlife in Las Vegas and that The Act fills a niche for patrons looking for an alternative to the typical Las Vegas big-box club scene," The Act special events coordinator Sean Dunn told MSN.
The nightclub is seeking a restraining order to halt the closure, claiming what they do doesn’t constitute obscenity.
Dunn said that the casino officials "were well aware of our brand," adding that representatives often visited the show and did not complain.
The show remains open while a district judge makes a decision.
The Sands did not comment.
Despite Vegas’s Sin City reputation, the dust up exposes an underlying conservatism.
"I think there's the perception that anything goes in Vegas — there's no boundaries, no lines," Lynn Comella, a professor of sexuality and women's studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said. "In reality, nothing could be further from the truth."
"The goal for Las Vegas was to be naughty enough to attract you but not naughty enough to repel you," added Michael Green, a history professor at the College of Southern Nevada.
What prompts casinos to toe the line regarding sexuality is what’s ultimately acceptable to Nevada’s powerful Gaming Control Board that regulates gaming permits.
The board isn't investigating The Act, but is instead waiting to see if the lawsuit gets resolved.
Former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman said that although the city markets itself as an adult playground, "We have standards and we're not going to advocate illegal activity. Unless the sex goes out of the line, we embrace it."