April 14, 2000 12:56am
Playboy Bunnies Hop Back
(LONDON) -- Bunnygirls are to return to London's West End more than a decade after their old Playboy club closed.
Ladbroke Casinos said Thursday it was to develop a Playboy casino in London's upmarket Mayfair area.
``We firmly believe that the Bunny image is a timeless one,'' Ladbroke Casinos managing director Ian Payne told Reuters.
``What is new (about the planned casino) is the mix of tradition and glamour and a modern setting. It is not intended to be a stag club.''
While the return of bunnygirls may cause controversy, the enduring image is tame by comparison with that of increasingly popular lap-dancing bars.
Payne said subject to licensing approval, the site boasting a casino, bar and nightclub will open in the second half of 2001.
The joint venture marks Playboy Enterprises Inc's return to the casino business in London, where it was a key part of the 1960s 'swinging London' scene, after it pulled out in the 1980s when its licence was challenged.
Christie Hefner, Chairman and Chief Executive of Playboy Enterprises Inc, said: ``We are thrilled with the prospect of returning to London...and we anticipate Playboy becoming the gaming experience destination of the new millennium.''
``London was very successful in the past. It makes sense to begin again here,'' Garry W. Saunders, Playboy's president of gaming, told Reuters.
The new club would have broad appeal, Saunders said. ``There will be sophisticated elegance. Couples will be very comfortable there.''
Despite that new approach, Saunders said it was unlikely the venture would feature bunnyboys. ``Never say never, but we have no plans for that.''