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Trouble at the Ultra-Lounge

Trouble at the Ultra-Lounge

Can you believe it? It seems that the “What Happens Here, Stays Here” slogan has led to some stuff that people would rather not see “stay here.”

It says here that Planet Hollywood recently paid a big fine for allowing “topless and lewd activity” in its ultra-lounge and for depositing customers into the casino “in various states of consciousness.”

I’ve been in those states.

Anyway, it seems there’s a crackdown on alleged criminal behavior at the fancy ultra-lounges that appeared back when people had money. Binge drinking, nudity-apparently, slathering a buxom babe with paint does not constitute compliance with anti-nudity laws-and drunken fistfights have occurred at some of these lounges. There are allegedly drug crimes and prostitution going on at some of the places.

Nudity in Las Vegas. Imagine!

There’s also willful, rampant overcharging at the ultra-lounges, but no one seems to think that’s criminal. If it were up to me, anyone charging $400 for a bottle of booze would be drawn and quartered. But back to my point.

Yes, sometimes I even have a point.

We welcome the crackdown on debauchery at our Las Vegas gambling joints. Why, the nerve of some people, allowing drunken, hopped-up revelers to spill into the very casinos where our children are. How can the kiddies watch us drink and gamble if semi-nude drunks get in the way? The ultra-lounges stand to threaten all of the family-friendly activities we offer here in the capital of family entertainment.

No, wait. That’s Disneyland. Vegas is still Sin City, right? We didn’t go back to that lame “bring your family” stuff from the ’90s, did we?

The answer, of course, is no. The ultra-lounges are meant to draw the young adults-the twenty-somethings who want to dance and drink and dance some more, and then drink some more, and rock and roll all night, and party ev-er-y day. The lounges are for those all-American youngsters who still think downing half a quart of bourbon and retching on your shoes equates to a “fun night out.”

The rest of us-the forty-somethings, fifty-somethings and beyond-are playing in the casino, sitting at tables or at machines. And the thirty-somethings? They still think it’s family time. Particularly at the suburban casinos, parents still bring their kids onto the slot floor, and parade them past us on their way to family events somewhere in the casino complex, while we sit at our slots or video poker machines.

Geez, they even had the circus at South Point the other day. I’m sitting at a video poker machine as little kids with funny hats and little balloons walk by, their little cherub faces plastered with some sort of sticky, sugar-based goo. No, they’re not supposed to be on the casino floor, but they were certainly close enough to me to gaze in wonder.

“Look, Timmy. That’s a degenerate gambler. See how red his eyes are? We don’t ever, ever want to be like him, do we?”

I wonder if there are kids next to the ultra-lounges when all of that illegal fun begins to burst out into the casino.

“See, Billy? That’s what happens when girls go out with not enough clothes on. They get handcuffed by the sheriff, and have to go to the county jail.”

Oh, I know. It was probably five in the morning by the time all that wild stuff happened at the lounges. The worst parents could fear is that they’d run into some drunks on their way to the breakfast buffet.

But I believe the local authorities are going to keep up the pressure on the ultra-lounges to keep it comparatively clean, and the casinos will happily comply, because they make a ton of profit from these all-night dance-and-drink havens. Even though most of us can’t afford them, I think the lounges are here to stay.

So the twenty-somethings in the lounges today will soon be the parents parading kids across the
casino floor. At least they’ll know where the ultra-lounges are, so they can avoid them.

And some day, you youngsters in the ultra-lounges will be middle-aged like me. Then, I’ll bring my grandchildren into the casino so they can stare at you while you play video poker.

“See, Timmy? That man’s gambling. And when he was a little older than you, he used to dance all night, then throw up on his shoes.”

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.