The Bulletin

Another potential loser to expanded gambling in Virginia: Strip clubs?

By: - September 24, 2019 4:38 pm
strip club

(Foxtongue via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Strip clubs and casinos might be expected to co-exist in a peaceful, vice-adjacent synergy.

Not so, says a representative of the owner of nine Richmond topless clubs, including three in close proximity to Colonial Downs’ biggest casino, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium.

“Ever since Rosie’s opened, our business at those clubs has been cut in half,” said Mike Dickinson, projects director at the clubs, which include the Candy Bar, Daddy Rabbits and Paper Moon.

Dickinson called up after reading our report on how charitable bingo game attendance has been hurt by competition from Rosie’s and unregulated slot-like “skill games” that have surged into convenience stores around the state. He wants the clubs he works in added to the small but growing list of industries worried about competition from expanded gambling.

“I would argue that in South Richmond, people don’t have a lot of disposable income,” he said. “You get $200 a week in play money, people are deciding, do they want to play the slot machines or go to the strip club? There’s only so much to go around.”

Like proprietors of the bingo games, he finds it unfair that the state has relaxed rules on one company while maintaining strict rules on others. In the case of strip clubs, he zeroed in on the state’s ban on selling liquor in strip clubs and its prohibition against full nudity. (Bottoms must be covered and pasties must be worn.)

The company, no stranger to politics — it hosted Roger Stone at one of its clubs for a meet-and-greet earlier this year — has been discussing potential legal action and legislative proposals.

“Right now we’re hamstrung and they’re not,” Dickinson said. “They’re getting to run free and we’ve got leashes attached to us.”

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Ned Oliver
Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association.

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