This weekend sees the return of the Playboy Club to the suddenly swinging streets of London. Hugh Hefner’s vision of a fun but exclusive place to drink and carry on while surrounded by hot girls with little cottontails affixed to their bulbous buttocks was born in Chicago in 1960, and made it across the pond in 1966. The original London venue lasted 15 years before shutting its doors.
The original London club had one thing going over its US counterparts: gambling. The new London club on Old Park Lane will feature 22 gaming tables offering roulette, blackjack and poker. Annual memberships start at £1,200 with a £1k joining fee. A lifetime membership will run £15k.
The 80-strong cast of Bunnies who will work the joint (no euphemism intended) was whittled down from more than 4,000 applicants. They range in age from 19 to 40, and while they’re all reportedly stunners, there’s more than sheer looks required to get the gig. Louise Kavanagh, who claims to be “the first Irish bunny,” told Ireland’s Independent that her first bunny interview “was two-and-a-half hours long and involved team building, games, a maths test, a colour-blindness test and a one-on-one interview. Being a croupier who deals, you have to be able to think quickly, and pick the games up fast. You’re not just standing there looking pretty, and there is a lot of brain power involved.”
Meanwhile, at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, more lawsuits have been filed by former cocktail servers who claim to have been fired for not looking good enough in the casino’s new skimpy server outfits. Celebrity attorney/professional shit disturber Gloria Allred is representing the nine women, joining the 46 other former servers who filed suit against Resorts’ boss Dennis Gomes for alleged age and gender discrimination.
Gomes, who purchased the troubled Resorts last fall, launched a 1920’s makeover to capitalize on the success of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire series. Part of the makeover involved dressing servers in Prohibition-era ‘flapper’ garb, with a little more skin showing than some of the servers expected. Allred claims that Gomes’ plan was to remold his server staff into something “younger, slimmer, sexier and more conforming to a stereotype of feminine beauty.” For its part, Resorts claims that “servers were given individual consideration and the selection process was conducted in a fair and objective manner.” Those servers who didn’t make the visual grade were given “hiring preference in other open positions at Resorts. Some took advantage of this offer and some did not.”
Allred urged Resorts customers to “go to a casino that is not in the business of hurting women.” A noble suggestion, perhaps, but the idea may have trouble getting traction among male gamblers, and not just because men like pretty girls. More to the point, as 70-year-old Resorts patron Al Alessy told the Press of Atlantic City: “What difference does it make to someone who’s gambling?” Touché, Al…