ATLANTIC CITY - Ho-ho-whoa! Just in time for Christmas, New Jersey casino regulators ruled Friday that it would be all right to have a strip club inside the Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
The so-called "gentlemen's club" would be the first in an Atlantic City casino since legalized gambling began here 33 years ago.
The ruling by the Division of Gaming Enforcement would permit Scores to open a $3 million club at the Taj, provided the company can obtain a liquor license.
The project "will give us additional entertainment, food, beverage, and retail amenities that will be great additions to the property," said Robert Griffin, chief executive officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.
In a directive that bordered on an anatomy lesson, the division explicitly detailed what would need to stay covered. Dancers could strip only to a G-string and pasties, it ruled. And lap dances would be prohibited, as would any simulation of sexual activity.
Private dance rooms would be available at a cost of $300 for 30 minutes, subject to the same restrictions. That amount only covers the use of the room: The dancer would negotiate her own fee.
As envisioned in Scores' application, first made in July 2010, a dancer would start out dressed in an evening gown and strip to a G-string and pasties.
The ruling would permit so-called "table-side" dances in which a dancer would gyrate close to a seated patron. Tips could be tucked inside a dancer's leg garter.
"Entertainers are instructed to remove the hand of any patron touching them elsewhere, and to place it by the patron's side with a side-to-side 'no' shake of her head," the application read.
David Rebuck, acting director of the gaming-enforcement division, said nothing in Scores' application runs afoul of state laws governing adult entertainment in casinos.
"This regulation does not prohibit the wearing of pasties and thongs by dancers/entertainers within the casino-hotel complex, and clearly contemplates that some entertainment offerings in a casino hotel complex will be suggestive," he wrote.
The division said New Jersey had anticipated that the "Las Vegas-style revue" would be incorporated here, with restrictions. As long as the dancers do not get naked or touch patrons in a provocative way, such a club would be permissible, it said.
In its request, Scores told regulators its club would charge "a significant admission fee" and would be "richly furnished, first-class, exceptional."
The club said its venture would create 80 to 100 jobs for managers, bartenders, and support staff, in addition to 150 to 200 "independent contractor" jobs for dancers.
Scores Atlantic City, as the club would be called, would compete for the same upscale gentlemen's club patrons as the Diving Horse, which opened in May and includes a steak house. Scores would not have a restaurant.
During the summer, three casinos had bikini beach bars. Outside the gambling halls, there are a half-dozen strip clubs and a swingers/voyeurs club.
Several casinos already have lingerie-clad "dealer-tainers" to run table games and entertain, if not distract, bettors.