he news sparked a stock jump of better than 22%, as the tenure of Christie Hefner had finished with the empire her father built struggling with financial difficulties.
Other than the licensing department, which sells the rights to the bunny ears logo, every department of the business has reported declining incomes. Magazine subscriptions are half what they were when Hefner assumed the CEO office twenty years ago, while costs per issue have risen sharply.
Television networks are subscription websites have been the business model for Playboy as the magazine’s profitability has faded, but expenses and other issues have prevented these from driving a new era of profit. Free web content makes selling Playboy’s rather demure web content problematic, while the acquisition of Spice TV drove up debt, costing Playboy us$ 95 million.
But gambling may be an unexplored avenue for the return to vigor of the Playboy brand. The Playboy Club located at the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas does a monstrous business. While the Playboy Club closed in England thirty years ago amid accusations of illegal gambling, it is gambling and poker that bring the Club’s return to London. Another Club is planned for Macau, and Penthouse plans to shop for a Vegas casino might foretell a Playboy Hotel and Casino in the future.
And Playboy Casino online positions itself well, staying on the good side of the US Department of Justice by not accepting American players. If legalization and regulation of the US market is nigh, those who cooperated with federal authorities may be among the first licensed.
With gambling in general and online casinos in particular looking to a rosy future, and the male-driven world of wagering linking well to that of Playboy, the salvation of the empire may be found in Internet and land gaming.