As part of the general clean-up of the city’s image, initiated in large measure by Howard Hughes, and to safeguard the revenues from gambling, in 1971 state legislators passed Statute 244-335 (8), rendering prostitution illegal in counties with a population of more than 250,000. That lets out Clark County (Las Vegas) and Washoe County (Reno).
Prostitution is also illegal in the Carson City Capital District and Lincoln County (northeast of Clark County).
The closest legal brothels to Las Vegas are in the Pahrump area (Nye County), roughly 60 miles west.
But what about all the working girls floating around casino bars and clubs and advertised in the sex rags from newsracks lining the Strip and on cards handed out by smut peddlers on the sidewalks?
It’s still illegal. But as long as it’s not obviously flouted in the tourist corridor (such as by scantily dressed streetwalkers), Las Vegas tradition tolerates it.