Most of the new attractions added to the Atlantic City entertainment scene this summer have had a decidedly G-rated feel.
Well, get ready to slap an R-rating on the next one, a strip club called Scores that is scheduled to open Sept. 12 inside Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
The $25 million pleasure palace will feature upscale decor, high-tech wizardry, exclusive VIP rooms, a sports bar and other amenities - in addition to erotic dancers performing on stripper poles.
During a media preview tour Wednesday, management portrayed Scores as a high-end entertainment venue that will give Atlantic City a leg up on the rival casino markets in surrounding states.
"This is part of the triangle - gambling, alcohol and beautiful women," said Mark Yackow, chief operating officer of Scores.
Scores is a New York import. Its Manhattan strip club is known for celebrity sightings.
"I always use the names Jay-Z and Kid Rock," Yackow said of some of the club's high-profile clients.
Bob Gans, managing member of Scores, stressed that the Atlantic City club will not be some tawdry strip joint.
"There won't be anything offensive," Gans said. "I would never own a nude club."
Dancers will strip down to pasties and G-strings but will not be allowed to get completely naked. New Jersey law prohibits nudity in Atlantic City's casinos, so the Scores dancers will retain some cover-up, however modest it may be.
"We're not fully topless," Yackow said. "The girls can dance down to G-strings. They do have pasties."
Michael Pollock, a casino analyst and managing director of Linwood-based Spectrum Gaming Group, said Scores definitely creates a sexier image for the city's entertainment scene. However, he added that Scores' success ultimately may depend on how it blends in with the broader tourism industry, particularly conventions and corporate meetings.
"The conventions and meetings business, long term, is the key segment Atlantic City needs to fully reposition itself," Pollock said. "The conventions and meetings business and all that goes with it should be the driving force that guides future marketing efforts. Adult entertainment should be positioned to assist in that effort."
Gans and Yackow said Scores is designed not only to serve as an erotic dance club, but also as a setting for special events, private parties and even a haven for conventioneers. The club is located on the second level of the Taj Mahal, across the hall from the casino's ballrooms and convention space.
"This hotel has a lot of conventions and so does Atlantic City," Yackow said, referring to the Taj Mahal.
Scores' $25 million price tag puts it near the top of the major casino attractions that have opened throughout the city this year. Only singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett's $35 million, Margaritaville-themed bar, restaurant and casino expansion at Resorts Casino Hotel cost more.
Buffett's project, along with the assorted restaurants, beach clubs, amusement rides and light shows that have entertained the crowds this summer, have been more family-oriented attractions. With Scores, Atlantic City becomes a little bit more like Las Vegas by offering high-profile, adult-themed entertainment.
"I think it's another type of venue that people will enjoy experiencing," Gans said.
Scores, however, is not alone in adult-themed casino entertainment. While planning on Scores continued, other Atlantic City casinos got the jump by debuting their own adult-oriented clubs or shows. Most notably, Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly opened last year as an elaborate burlesque club on the casino floor at Revel Casino-Hotel. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa followed this summer with "The Burlesque Show," billed as a flirtatious variety production that pays tribute to the 1940s burlesque era.
The sprawling Scores club, though, will take adult entertainment to a new level on the Boardwalk. Gans said nothing else in Atlantic City is remotely comparable to it.
"I think it's an adult venue that is lacking in Atlantic City," he said.
Scores is not simply one club, but rather a labyrinth of bars, performance stages, private party rooms and exclusive VIP spots. Pulsating, high-tech lighting will add to the experience. Another attraction is a sports bar connected to an outdoor, oceanview deck.
Altogether, Scores features:
•The Electric Fantasy Room, a futuristic gentlemen's club and showroom with multiple stages, VIP seating and cabana-style private rooms.
•The Distrikt, a red-light fantasy corridor.
•The Libertine Room, an ultra-luxe celebrity and high roller lounge.
•The Black Box Cabaret, a state-of-the-art special event space that can be reserved with Scores dancers in it.
•Blue Velvet Theater, the home to a male revue called the "Real Men of Scores."
•The Spread, an intimate sports bar.
•The Deck at Scores, an oceanview day club and nightclub experience.
•And the Scores Collection retail store.
Yackow noted that the retail shop will sell dresses, T-shirts, shoes and other accessories. But it will not carry sex toys.
"No toys. Sorry," Yackow said, smiling.
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