ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Resorts Casino Hotel, which raised some hackles earlier this year with a bare-butt billboard to promote a show, is taking things even further in a bid to win back business.
The casino's new owners held a grand reopening Friday, unveiling the skimpy new flapper costumes that got them sued this year by female cocktail servers fired after being deemed not sexy enough in them.
And the casino announced it will host a nightly adults-only Naked Circus in a parking lot tent starting in July. Actually, it's only mostly naked, much like New York's Naked Cowboy, but you get the idea.
"It'll be as naked as the law allows," said Resorts co-owner Dennis Gomes, who is fast gaining a reputation as the Howard Stern of the casino industry because of his willingness to push sex to promote his brand and generate publicity and buzz.
His son Aaron Gomes said the female performers will wear pasties and G-strings.
Dennis Gomes says it's all designed to win back millions of dollars in business the casino lost under previous ownership that nearly closed it last fall.
Resorts posted a $5.3 million operating loss in the first quarter of this year, but Gomes and co-owner Morris Bailey, a New York real estate investor, are pumping large amounts of promotional cash into the casino to try to rebuild its customer base after buying it last December at a steep discount.
The Naked Circus show, which will start July 4th weekend, will be one of three daily circuses Resorts will host in Atlantic City, the second-largest U.S. gambling market outside Las Vegas.
The casino also unveiled its new flapper costumes, which cocktail servers will wear from now on. They're the costumes that resulted in a lawsuit from 15 servers fired in March after an outside panel hired by Resorts deemed them insufficiently sexy in the new garb.
The lawsuit is pending.
The black-fringed flapper dresses, worn with black fishnet stockings, are extremely low-cut in the back. Billboards that Resorts put up around town and on the side of its building show two models wearing them with part of their rear ends exposed, and it is obvious they are not wearing undergarments. (The servers on hand for Friday's announcement were.)
"Sexiness is just part of it," Gomes said. "It's excitement, fun. Everything that Las Vegas has, we're going to have."
Gomes, who made national headlines for letting customers play tic-tac-toe against a chicken when he ran Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort, is bringing a new slant on that promotion to Resorts: "The Tic-Tac-Toe-Playing Chick."
"There will be this woman, and customers can play tic-tac-toe against her," Gomes said. "If they win, they get $5,000."
The ceremony was held a day after the 33rd anniversary of Resorts' opening in 1978 as the nation's first casino outside Nevada.