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Topless/Taxi War: Drivers asking where all the money goes

  Local strip clubs are laying out big cash these days to limo and
cab drivers who deliver passengers to one establishment over another.
Rick’s Cabaret, for instance, has handed up to $100 per customer
delivery.

  Most other clubs are peeling off at least $80 a head for customers,
who are charged an average of $30 to enter the topless cabarets.

  After writing about this topic for months, I am now hearing from
veteran limo drivers who are saying this underground economy story is
incomplete without raising the issue of where all the money goes after
it’s received.

  “Up to half” is kicked back to the door personnel, who are organized
and must share their score with hotel insiders and the creative
operator who gave them their job on the most lucrative nights. It’s a
pay-to-play system – you know, a lot like local politics in that
regard – and the numbers I’m hearing from reliable sources are
substantial.

  Club owners admit they are spending millions each year to grease the
system and call it a "marketing" expense.

  Even after moving the cash up the line the doormen still take home a
couple thousand and more a week, depending on the shift they work and
the flow of customers.

  Cab drivers, who used to keep most of the money they were toked when
the going rate was $20 or $30, are now getting shoved aside by limo
drivers who can haul more customers and cut sweeter deals at the strip
clubs.

  One veteran driver asks, “Aren’t the casinos licensed by the Gaming
Control Board? Don’t they have to follow rules? Isn’t what is being
practiced a form of collusion?”

  But most drivers I’ve spoken with are understandably keeping quiet.
The money is good, and even if they’re compelled to cut it up with
others it’s all green in the end.
 

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