LAS VEGAS (AP) — It turns out that even in Las Vegas, nicknamed Sin City, some sins are hard to overlook.
The Palazzo hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip is trying to evict a 10-month-old nightclub for shows it says are so raunchy that they violate obscenity laws. It says actors — some nearly naked — toss condoms into the crowd and simulate sex acts and bestiality on stage.
The club is seeking a restraining order to halt the closure, arguing that simulated sex acts don't constitute obscenity.
Casino officials "were well aware of our brand," said Sean Dunn, special events director at The Act, in an emailed statement. He added that representatives of the hotel-casino have frequently attended shows and did not complain.
Las Vegas Sands, which owns the casino, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Act remains open for business while a district judge considers its fate.
"I think there's the perception that anything goes in Vegas — there's no boundaries, no lines," said Lynn Comella, a professor of sexuality and women's studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "In reality, nothing could be further from the truth."
That perception, in part, is fueled by what tourists see.
Trucks roll down Las Vegas Boulevard advertising "hot babes" delivered directly to hotel rooms. The phone book is full of ads for escorts and private dancers. Taxis and billboards feature scantily clad women who leave little to the imagination.
While Las Vegas also has many strip clubs, tourists won't find them along the Strip or in the city's hotel-casinos. They can watch a topless stage show or lounge at a European-style topless pool, but they have to go to a ride to a side street to see strippers.
"The goal for Las Vegas was to be naughty enough to attract you but not naughty enough to repel you," said Michael Green, a history professor at the College of Southern Nevada.
The city — which has 40 million annual visitors — must balance the sexiness with the sensibilities of foreign tourists and large, multinational casinos.
In The Act's case, Sands executives notified club officials on April 26 that they'd crossed a line with the show and were no longer welcome. The casino giant wants to evict it, ending a 10-year lease.
The club contends Sands "manufactured this 'breach' in an attempt to improperly evict" it.
There's no doubt that Las Vegas markets itself as an adult playground, said Oscar Goodman, the larger-than-life former Las Vegas mayor who's often flanked by scantily clad showgirls, martini in hand.
"We have standards, and we're not going to advocate illegal activity," he said. "Unless the sex goes out of the line, we embrace it."