In another case, brothel owners in Lincoln County protested when the county outlawed prostitution in 1978, having issued licenses for seven years.The Nevada Supreme Court ruled, however, that the county had the right to do so.As of 2012, only eight of these counties have active brothels, while the other four (Churchill County, Esmeralda County, Eureka County, and Pershing County) no longer do. License fees for brothels range from an annual 0,000 in Storey County to an annual 0,000 in Lander County.Licensed prostitutes must be at least 21 years old, except in Storey County and Lyon County (where the minimum age is 18).In 2005, brothel owners lobbied to be taxed in order to increase the legitimacy of the business, but the legislature declined.
In 1971, Joe Conforte, owner of a brothel called Mustang Ranch, near Reno, managed to convince county officials to pass an ordinance which would provide for the licensing of brothels and prostitutes, thus avoiding the threat of being closed down as a public nuisance.
Officials in Las Vegas, afraid that Conforte would use the same technique to open a brothel nearby, convinced the legislature, in 1971, to pass a law prohibiting the legalization of prostitution in counties with a population above a certain threshold, tailored to apply only to Clark County.
In 1977, county officials in Nye County tried to shut down Walter Plankinton's Chicken Ranch as a public nuisance; brothels did not have to be licensed in that county at the time, and several others were operating.
The rest of Nevada's counties are permitted by state law to license brothels, but only eight counties have done so.
As of December 2017, there are 21 brothels in Nevada.