Uber has done it to the taxi industry, Airbnb has done to it hotels — now there are concerns that dating apps are destroying the legal brothel industry.
Rebecca*, manager of the Sunshine Coast’s only remaining legal brothel, said business was down by 40 per cent in the last year.
She has blamed the downturn on a rise in the use of internet dating apps like Tinder where people can access sex for free.
The coast’s other legal brothel closed in June last year and attempts to sell the once-busy brothel via auction and then private treaty were unsuccessful.
Rebecca, who has managed legal brothels in Queensland for eight years, three of those her current location, said while it was “still a good business”, they had “definitely seen a decline in the last year”.
“[With] clients going to dating sites, like Tinder, business is down by at least 40 per cent,” she said.
She said people still wanted to come to regulated facilities like legal brothels, but changes in the last year were “definitely having an impact”.
Lure of sausage sizzle
One Gold Coast brothel has been trying enticements, like free sausage sizzles, to bring in customers.
Rebecca said similar initiatives were being tried on the Sunshine Coast.
“We have promotions like Tradie Tuesday night,” she said, adding that the offer of a room discount and free sausage sizzle and soft drink was not having a substantial impact.
“[At] this point, I know that brothels in Queensland are forming their own little ring to get together and try to work hard on regulations that need to be changed,” she said.
“It’s a constant battle [so] if we can make people aware of it, we have a chance.”
She said she believed there were only 12 licensed brothels left in Queensland because they are closing “willy nilly all over the place”.
“I know Mackay closed in the last few years and Scarlet Harem closed here,” Rebecca said.
*Rebecca asked for her real name not to be published.