Strip Club Patrons Vote With Their Feet
According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star, strip clubs in Missouri have fewer customers and fewer revenues as a consequence of the increase in restrictions on the industry.
Usually, two or three dozen men might be at the Shady Lady adult lounge to watch [Natalie] Beary and her co-workers sway to the music while removing most of their clothes.
But not on this day. The room on Kansas City’s East Side was empty. It’s a casualty, manager Joe Spinello said, of Missouri’s nearly three-week-old law sharply restricting sexually oriented entertainment.
“Our headcount is down almost 80 percent,” Spinello said.“We don’t have a product to offer.”
The article illustrates how increasing restrictions on an industry will incite individuals and businesses to vote with their feet. They will go to locations that have fewer restrictions, such as Kansas and Illinois, and they will take their stacks of dollar bills with them. As a direct consequence, strip clubs in Missouri face an incentive to close and reopen in locations that have more customers and larger tips. It similarly incites individuals to seek out substitutes, such as pornography, prostitution, or perhaps even violent crimes like rape. This restriction defeats its ostensible intended purpose of stopping an unfavored activity. At best, it shifts from Missouri to other locations; at worst, it is replaced by more illicit behavior that falls further outside the realm of public scrutiny.
By increasing restrictions, the state government in Missouri hurts industries and individuals in the private sector that have been successful without subsidy. This restriction negatively affects club owners, who are forced to shut down, and dancers who experience reductions in their income. Again, from the article:
Beary […] admits it’s tougher to earn a living with the new rules in place.
“I’ve lost a lot of money,” she said. “The customers, if they can’t see boobs or your butt, they don’t want any dances.”
The state government has made it clear that it wants to attract businesses and dollars from outside of the state. Why does it matter if this activity comes from the strip club industry or any other industry?