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Playboy Heffner Says Adult Programming Doesn’t Have Potential in Casinos

6 August 2010 by Devon Chappell
That's a Soft 17 for sure. I would definitely take insurance on those.

That's a Soft 17 for sure. I would definitely take insurance on those.

I just read an article about Hugh Hefner opening a Playboy Casino in England and Macau, and I have to say, honestly Heff, what the hell are you thinking? And not that I don’t think the concept of beautiful, scantily clad women walking around a casino is an ingenious formula for success. But, I think it’s a fair question to ask, “If you can’t make it running an online casino, how do you expect to make it running a land-based casino?”

That’s right – you may recall when Playboy opened an online casino using a software license through Cryptologic. That was back in late 2006, and it didn’t take more than two years thereafter for Playboy to tell it’s virtual dealers to put their clothes back on and close its doors to the online gambling industry.

I couldn’t tell you how much of a bomb the Playboy online casino really was (or bombshell for that matter….more on that later), however, I can say the enterprise certainly wasn’t making enough money for the likes of Heffner. Too much competition, perhaps? Not enough experience actually running an online casino? If you ask me (thanks for asking), I think it was because Playboy didn’t go far enough with what they do best – pictures of beautiful naked women – oh, and let’s not forget soft-core porn.

Sure, the Playboy online casino had specially branded casino games like the “Girl of the Month” and “Playmate Party” slot machines, but quite frankly, they lacked character and sex appeal – at least what you would expect from Playboy. In other words, Playboy Online Casino was just like any other Cryptologic-powered online casino (not bad in itself), but with some less-than-adequate animations and pictures of naked women. Come on guys – pictures of naked women adorning online slot machines is nothing new under the Sun. How about some video story-lines with the slot machines or live dealer feeds? Heck, I’d even be open to phone sex keno.

But rather than catering to the real appetite that has made Playboy so successful over the years, the playboy simply played it safe. Heffner himself seems to have this crazy notion that Playboy can do better -financially speaking – outside of the adult entertainment field. In regards to opening a land-based casino in London and Macau, Heffner said “….we will focus on more conventional businesses. That’s our new strategy; we are leaving the adult programming as it doesn’t have sufficient potential. I believe it complicates our mission and targets.”

Did someone spike Heff’s prozac with some jimson weed or is that just the manifestations of senility? Look, I’m not saying that if you have enough money that it’s impossible to finance a casino and turn it into a profitable venture. But when you can’t even keep an online casino afloat, and you’re turning your back on the one thing that is certain to bring in the crowds and get the dice rolling…cough, cough, beautiful naked women, well then, I have to say I have my doubts. Sure, you have a Playboy Club at the Palms Resort and Casino. But that’s just a club with a few roulette and blackjack tables.

Granted, there is the factor of getting an operator license from whichever gambling commission is overseeing what could be a risque casino. Back in the early eighties, the first casino to close down in Atlantic City was…you guessed it – the Playboy Casino. And it wasn’t for a lack of business, apparently. The NJ Gambling Commission was a stick in the mud from the start, and in the end, only issued a gaming license to Playboy’s business partner, Elsinore Associates.

Will somebody please tell Hugh that as much as he wants to give the Playboy name more credibility other than what comes with tasteful pornography, it’s just not going to happen. You simply can’t get away from the association of Playboy and naked women. Opening a casino devoid of that isn’t going to work. It’s not going to validate the ladies who expose themselves. It’s not going to validate the magazine. It’s just not going to validate. Good luck with the casinos in England and Macau, Hugh. I truly hope you prove me wrong.


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