Palms inks deal with Playboy

Oct 12, 2004 4:14 AM

By ron fortune

In a deal that further endears itself to Generation X, the Palms Casino Resort announced last week that it has partnered with Playboy Enterprises to develop a Playboy-themed entertainment venue in its new hotel tower, which is currently under construction.

The new venue will feature a nightclub, boutique casino and lounge, retail store and two-story sky villa — a 12,000-square-foot, penthouse version of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion.

The Palms’ new 40-story tower will add 300 guest rooms when it opens in early 2006. The Playboy sky villa will have its own glass elevator that will overlook the Strip, along with an indoor and outdoor pool.

The new Playboy-themed spots will be jointly owned and operated by the Palms and the N9NE Group, which currently operates four other venues at the Palms —the N9NE Steakhouse, Rain nightclub, Ghost Bar and Skin Pool Lounge.

"Playboy has proven its exceptional ability to merchandise its brand, so we are excited to be part of this opportunity to take their efforts to the next level in Las Vegas," said Michael Morton, owner of the N9NE Group.

Interestingly, Morton is the brother of Peter Morton, owner of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which competes fiercely with the Palms for the young and hip Generation X crowd.

Playboy said it expects to report a seven-figure increase in revenue once its Las Vegas venues are operating.

"The Palms deal continues our strategy of striking attractive licensing deals with outstanding well-capitalized partners who can leverage our brand in exciting new ways," said Christie Hefner, chairman and chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises. "This project creates a premier showcase for the brand and will reinforce Playboy’s global position as the standard-bearer for fun, sexy entertainment."

The Palms was chosen for the Playboy venue because, according to Playboy officials, it has become the hottest and hippest Las Vegas casino since its opening three years ago. "The casino is geared to the right demographic, young men from ages 21 to 34, the backbone of Playboy’s business," said Bill Farley, Playboy’s vice president of marketing events.

The Palms-Playboy union follows a year of "flirting," in which the Palms hosted three Playboy-sponsored events that attracted a crush of people hoping to catch glimpses of Playboy Playmates and the celebrities that followed.

"This project builds on the series of successful collaborations we’ve had with Playboy, including last year’s 50th anniversary kick-off," said George Maloof, president of the Palms. "Together we will create provocative experiences that will be unique, not just in Las Vegas but in the gaming industry."

Maloof added that developing Playboy entertainment is part of a long-term licensing agreement with Playboy Enterprises. But the Playboy deal is "still a work in progress," Maloof said, with many details yet to be worked out.