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Prostitution, Drugs Close Topless Rio Pool

A while back we wrote about the glut of topless pools luring love-starved men to hotels -- for a charge. But earlier this week at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino's new topless Sapphire Pool, which featured strippers from the Sapphire Gentlemen's Club, was closed during an "integrity check" by plainclothes police officers after they arrested eight women for prostitution. Two other women and a man were arrested on obstruction and drug charges.

The alleged illegal activity was found during a routine check last weekend by Las Vegas police. A spokeswoman said the Rio decided to suspend topless sunbathing on Tuesday. The hotel and gentleman's club face no charges.

The link to the Rio's Sapphire Pool is now also gone.

The experiment was Vegas' first foray into trying to combine gambling and stripping, albeit in a strange hybrid because of morality laws. The idea is to lure gamblers (assumed to be male) to a hotel so they can pay $30 to $50 for a chance to see half-naked women -- and swim, of course. Other hotel-casinos like Caesars Palace, the Venetian, and MGM Mirage also have topless pools.

Is it a surprise that working girls may find the topless pools a great way to find business? Not at all, but I don't think casinos understood the scale of illegal activity that could be conducted at a pool. But they mised the main problem -- it's not just a topless pool, it's a complete nightclub -- which had a celebrity-studded opening in May. It has seven VIP cabanas, daybeds and a party atmosphere with a lot of drinking. In Las Vegas, as it is in New York or Los Angeles, nightclubs mean party drugs and party girls.

Photo of Sapphire Pool courtesy of Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino