Dennis Hof is on a buying spree.
The owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch had just two brothels a few years ago. Today, he owns seven and a strip club. The expansion of his empire comes as Nevada's brothel industry struggles to recover from the recession. And though Hof said his business is increasing, most of his competitors are having a tough time.
"I've seen it go from 28 brothels to 17 or 18 now," he said. "My business at the Bunny Ranch is the same and maybe a bit more than it was five years ago. ... Other brothels have all suffered a serious, serious hit. I've taken the income I made from [my holdings] and bought five more."
The decline in business at these establishments isn't the result of some newfound virtue on the part of former customers, nor does it have anything to do with Sen. Harry Reid's attempt to shut them down two years ago.
It can largely be blamed on two things: Less spending money and the Internet.
"The brothels survive off what we call disposable income," said George Flint, a lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association. "There's not a lot of that to spend right now. A lot of gentlemen who, for years, have gone to a brothel don't have the funding that they did five or 10 years ago."