Penthouse CEO Marc Bell is going public with plans to buy a “significant property” on the Las Vegas Strip and join the casino wars.
“The best time to buy is in a down economy,” said the South Florida financier, whose business plans includes tying in his 10,000-Website empire, most of them social networking sites, to generate business.
“We have no intention to rebrand the name of the hotel. We would like to see a Penthouse casino presence and a Penthouse pool presence,” Bell told Vegas Confidential during an interview at Planet Hollywood Resort in what is known as the “Stripper suite."
FriendFinder, the parent company of Penthouse, provides an immense database, said Bell, a former Internet whiz kid.
“We have over 200 million people who are members on all of our Web sites worldwide and we have an enormous amount of demographic information on those people so we are very interested in finding out which consumers on which Web sites are interesting in gambling in Las Vegas."
“It’s about rethinking the way of how people think of casinos in Las Vegas, coming in with a new paradigm. Everyone tries doing cookie cutters, doing the same thing over and over again and we believe it’s time to create a new widget.
Bell said he has been talking to “numerous people are we are actively trying to find a hotel on the Strip to buy. A place where we can have the most impact…only if it would be a significant property.
“We’re looking to make a presence, take something and clean it up and fix it up and give it a new image," he said.
Penthouse’s new global reach allows it to reach one in four people who use the Internet.
The ranks of the casino dealers could be stocked with models from the magazine. "We think it would be a tremendous draw."
Asked if he envisioned a day when Penthouse could have strippers performing inside a hotel, Bell said, “I would have to imagine at some point we would be able to, as entertainment gets more risque on the Strip, as Vegas gets more back to its roots.
Penthouse, founded in 1965 in the United Kingdom and moved to the U.S. four years later, competed with Playboy for years before both fell on tough times.
"We already dwarf the size of Playboy in terms of our global reach," said Bell. "We far surpass anything Playboy ever dreamed.
–NORM CLARKE, Vegas Confidential