Nevada is the only U.S. state where prostitution is legally permitted in some form. Prostitution is legal in 10 of Nevada's 17 counties, although only six allow it in every municipality. Seven counties have at least one active brothel, which mainly operate in isolated, rural areas. The state's most populated counties, Clark (which contains Las Vegas) and Washoe (which contains Reno), are among those that do not permit prostitution. It is also illegal in Nevada's capital, Carson City, an independent city.
The vast majority of prostitution in Nevada takes place illegally in the metropolitan areas of Las Vegas and Reno. About 66 times more money is spent by customers on illegal prostitution in Nevada than in the regulated brothels.
Brothels have been allowed in Nevada since the middle of the 20th century. In 1937, a law was enacted to require weekly health checks of all prostitutes. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an order to s