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UNLV Prof: Prostitute Ownership Of Brothels Would Be Sweeping Change

Associated Press

Brothels are legal in Nevada, but only in counties with populations of fewer than 450,000.

But could a move by Dennis Hof, who owns the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and six more brothels, lead to more acceptance of brothels?

Hof is offering the 540 women who work in his brothels the chance to buy shares. He first wants to see if they would help buy the famous Chicken Ranch, which is for sale in Nye County. 

“I want to give the girls the opportunity to not only invest in it and be shareholders but also have input in the management style,” Hof told KNPR's State of Nevada. “What we’re going to do is reach out to the girls and say we want a $25,000 minimum investment. The purchase price is $4.5 million take whatever part of it you want.”

He said the women will get back a portion of the brothel's profits depending on the percentage they put in. 

Hof believes that having the employees invest in the brothel will make it so they treat the facility like it's their own.

“I’m hoping that if they have a vested interest in it, they’ll treat it more like they own it. and our sales will go up. Our expenses will go down. And maybe make it more profitable.” 

Barb Brents, a UNLV sociology professor who researches the adult industry in Nevada, said some brothels in other countries share ownership with sex workers. But to do it in Nevada would be a sweeping change.

“There is an image – right or wrong – of brothel owners as pimps… and so to have the women who work there actually are co-owners certainly would turn what some people think about brothels on its head,” she said.

She said sex workers have long known how to take care of their own businesses but she believes that this kind of ownership model could "perhaps" lead to legalized prostitution in Clark County.

There are still some hurdles for Hof's plan. The biggest might be the background checks for brothel investors. Nye County requires a lot of information about people who want to invest money in the county's brothel industry. 

Dennis Hof, owner, Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel; Barb Brents, sociology professor, UNLV 

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.