Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2014

Currently: 106° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

ACTION! New Los Angeles ordinance likely to drive more porn industry producers to Las Vegas

Katie Kox

Adult film actress Katie Kox poses at her home in Henderson Monday, March 4, 2012. Her garage is converted into the headquarters for her website and Launch slideshow »

Angered by an ordinance requiring actors in pornographic productions to wear condoms, some in the adult industry are threatening to move their operations from the “pornucopia” of Los Angeles to Southern Nevada.

The news, first reported last month by the Los Angeles Times, has caused some to speculate on the industry’s future in Las Vegas, which is already seen by many insiders as a welcoming second home.

While these insiders say more studios are likely to move here because of the ordinance, they also note porn’s migration was under way long before the Los Angeles City Council’s January vote aimed at stopping the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Las Vegas is home to a mega-player, Brazzers, and a newcomer, Bluebird Films. Several performers live in the Las Vegas Valley. And it’s not uncommon for the Strip skyline, Lake Mead and surrounding mountains to show up in pornographic movies, insiders said.

Katie Kox, a performer and porn website operator who lives in Henderson, said she expects the ordinance to push more producers to Southern Nevada. She typically flies to Los Angeles for filming but anticipates doing more work locally as the ordinance takes effect.

“I honestly think it’s going to affect the Vegas film industry a lot,” she said. “A lot of them (performers) already live out here.”

Las Vegas and Clark County have both licensed adult motion picture studios, and within the last year, a major porn production company set up shop in Southern Nevada, according to Clyde DeWitt, an attorney who represents porn production companies and has offices in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

(A city spokesman said more than 50 video and film production companies are licensed with Las Vegas; Clark County lists more than 400 active film licenses. Neither the city nor county could determine which licenses might belong to adult film production companies.)

Craig Gross, founder of xxxchurch.com, a nonprofit Christian website that helps people addicted to pornography, said, “There is already a decent amount of porn shot there in Vegas. With this law in effect, I see more and more coming to Vegas. It just makes sense.”

The L.A. condom ordinance may seem inconsequential to the public, but Tom Hymes, senior editor at Adult Video News, an industry website, said there is evidence that it hurts business. Years ago, a company required that its performers wear condoms and sales tumbled, he said. “It kills the illusion.”

Porn Fan Show 2012

Max Hardcore poses for a photos with Bonnie Rotten at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2012 inside the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. Launch slideshow »

DeWitt said the ordinance has made porn producers notice things about Las Vegas they might not have before. At first, talk of moving to Southern Nevada was a simple reaction to the regulation, he said.

“Now they’re saying maybe they should move to Las Vegas anyway because the economy is so much more favorable,” he said. “They get commercial space cheaper. There’s no state income tax … Housing is literally half or less than what they pay there. That’s an attractive proposition.

“It’s a legitimate industry like any other industry and one of the reasons they have come to Las Vegas lately is because this is a really hospitable business climate.”

When it comes to being considered hospitable, the bar is apparently set fairly low.

Hymes said Nevada officials’ comments to the Sun following the L.A. council vote gave some in the industry hope. A spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said porn production is not among the “key sectors” identified by the state to help diversify the economy.

What did Hymes hear in those statements? Officials didn’t say Nevada would turn away the business.

DeWitt added that no one would expect a government official to publicly embrace the industry.

“I don’t imagine any politician is going to say, ‘Welcome, porn!’” he said. “But the thing about adult films is most people say, ‘Well, for those who want to watch it, fine, as long as I don’t have to watch it.’ ... Nevada just seems more amenable, and this industry is always willing to work with people.”

Click to enlarge photo

Chris Ramirez, owner of Lola Pictures, a film-production company based in downtown Las Vegas, poses at company's offices Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Ramirez said he would welcome the influx of business if the adult film industry in Los Angeles moves operations to Las Vegas.

DeWitt said Las Vegas “has resources ... that complement the industry,” including film production talent who work on feature films here.

Chris Ramirez, owner of Lola Pictures, a film-production company based in downtown Las Vegas, said he would welcome the influx of business.

“I hope it comes,” he said, adding that he would form a separate company to keep porn production separate from other productions. “I’ll go out and buy extra equipment if I have to.”

Throughout much of the country, the pornographic film industry maintains a low profile. Many states categorize the productions as prostitution because they involve having sex for pay.

California became home to the industry, in part, because of a 1988 state Supreme Court decision allowing the hiring of someone to have sex to produce adult films. (New Hampshire in 2008 cited the California ruling to clarify the difference between prostitution and pornography.) The industry also benefits from the proximity of Hollywood and its pool of skilled film talent.

Nevada is unique, as the only state with legalized prostitution, allowing it in counties with fewer than 400,000 people. While prostitution is illegal in populous Clark County, there’s little indication that has hampered porn productions here.

“We don’t issue permits” for porn productions, said Ed Harran of the Nevada Film Office. “But if you shoot on private property, you don’t need permitting.”

An expansion here would likely draw little opposition given the city’s high-profile adult industry, libertarian attitudes and society’s changing views on pornography, DeWitt said.

“There are certainly people against it, but there are at least as many and probably more who would be outraged to know the government is trying to stop it,” he said.

Still, Hymes said, any talk of a wholesale move of the industry from Los Angeles to Las Vegas might be premature: The fight over L.A.’s condom ordinance isn’t over yet.

“The studios are … still looking at the situation and assessing options, of which there are many,” he said. “That includes taking a stand and sending it to court and testing it there.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 7 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. "Another career oportunity [sic] for the valley's high school girls."

    rjhs -- since Nevada's age of consent is 16, and no one forces them into it, your problem would be what?

    "It is a legitimate business like any other and it should be permitted to do business as it wishes."

    NVFisherman -- amen to that!

    "This is the LAST enterprise needed in Vegas!!! God help us!"

    Chupy -- your god also made genitalia. So exactly what problem do you expect your god to "help" you with?

    "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion." -- Arthur C. Clarke, 1999, from "God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke" in Free Inquiry magazine

  2. Even if the porn industry moves to Las Vegas, the average person probably won't know it's even here. I hardly think that the industry is going to put up signs on the front of the houses they are shooting in. I also don't think that much money will be generated by the state and local governments if the porn industry comes to Vegas. The movies may be made here but the DVD production will be somewhere else.

  3. The governor told you that his initiative to move out-of-state businesses to Nevada was working. I believe it was on the Ralston TV show that his spokesperson said so. That's why we must continue Nevada's historic low regulation, low tax on businesses posture. This is proof.

  4. The porn industry has been here for years already. There will be no discernible difference.

  5. Do they object to be unionized?

  6. <<You will start seeing a lot more non porn movies being made here in Nevada. The infrastructure is here and the talent is here>>

    Infrastructure?? Talent??? Oh yeah, those nice green parks with so many trees. My goodness, even "CSI" isn't even filmed in Vegas!!! Only rare portions such as those overhead shots (which is stock film). The majority of the show is shot on a soundstage in LA. Hell, "Bonanza" wasn't even shot in Nevada!! The Nevada will never be a place where a majority of movies are made (it has it's own niche for movies, ie "The Hangover"); California, NY, Chicago, the South and Canada have cornered the market for filming movies. And no need to even explain why.

  7. Since Las Vegas is a short hop over from LA and the business climate here is accepting of the adult industry, I agree that this may be a big boost for the economy. I mainly do web design and I've already heard from people that they are seeking to connect and get some of that business moved here. I would welcome the work to support the adult film industry and I can't think of any cons. Quite honestly, I'm surprised that the adult industry made its home around LA, when Las Vegas is more ideal, and for that matter Nevada in general should be trying harder to get more California businesses of all types moved here.

    Erin
    RedRocketSeo.com
    Las Vegas Resident