Scores Gentlemen’s Club will open in the Trump Taj Mahal on July 4, the company confirmed Tuesday.
The $20 million club was the first in Atlantic City — and the rest of the New Jersey — for which regulators agreed dancers can wear pasties and G-strings where alcohol is served.
State law for noncasino businesses requires a stricter dress code. Those rules include a prohibition on pasties, which the Division of Gaming Enforcement specified are allowed at casino bars and clubs — including Scores — in its decision Dec. 23, 2011. Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly, which opened inside Revel last spring, serves alcohol and features burlesque dancers who disrobe to pasties and G-strings. The DGE heard that application in March.
At first, Scores was expected to open in Atlantic City by the end of last summer. A few months ago, the target was spring 2013. As of Tuesday, it is July 4, according to Scores attorney Scott Silver and spokesman Stephen Jones.
Division spokeswoman Lisa Spengler said the company’s background check has not yet been completed. She would not say whether that has stalled the project, nor whether it would conclude by July 4.
Royal Jelly, however, has continued to operate without the DGE having completed its background check, according to the division’s decision issued 10 months ago.
Jones called such limbo “normal” and said Scores wouldn’t have moved forward unless they knew the investigation would go smoothly.
Jones attributed delays to the company wanting to first perfect its Robert’s Steakhouse, which opened inside the Taj last fall.
Taj Mahal representatives declined to comment on the new opening date.
Jones said the club never asked the DGE to change the rules, and only sought confirmation they could operate as planned. Silver has said the same.
But the Scores decision made it clear that performers can wear less clothing at gentlemen’s clubs in Atlantic City casinos than elsewhere in the resort and the rest of the state.
That prompted some noncasino club owners to predict the disparity would cause rampant noncompliance in the resort. That has not happened.
Jones sees Scores — a nationwide chain with locations in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans and another coming to Detroit — as distinct, anyway.
“We’re not a strip joint,” Jones said Tuesday.
Royal Jelly departs from what one might expect to find at a strip club, as well. Dancers rarely get off the stage, let alone touch customers, which isn’t allowed under performance guidelines specified in the DGE’s Scores ruling. The Royal Jelly shows also are relatively theatrical in theme, costume, lighting, choreography and other elements.
No matter where alcohol-serving gentleman’s clubs are located in New Jersey, or who issues their liquor licenses, none of their performers can undress completely. They also can’t simulate sexual activity, according to state ABC and DGE guidelines.
Most all-nude clubs in Atlantic City and elsewhere, however, allow patrons to bring their own alcohol — often purchased at attached points of sale.
A couple of clubs have bars on the same premises, such as the bar above Delilah’s Den at 2405 Pacific Ave., and the one beside the entrance to Casey’s Cabaret on the beach block of New York Avenue. Others are adjacent to carry-out vendors, such as Bullshots bar next door to Bare Exposure between on 2303 Pacific Ave. and the counter in a separate room at Allure, on the westbound side of the Black Horse Pike.
A few reports of too-bare dancers at local clubs that serve alcohol surfaced just after the DGE’s Scores decision. That has continued on a limited basis, and no related citations have resulted, Atlantic City Police Detective Joseph Paparone said.
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