The business of sin hasn't been a pretty place to be for the last few years, as individuals and businesses cut back on some of their more non-essential expenses. But as the economy slowly improves and corporate profits roar back, we're starting to see the sin business perform significantly better.

Rick's Cabaret (Nasdaq: RICK) is a shining example of how a seemingly foolproof business can trip over its own two feet when the purse strings get tightened. After all, how can a gentlemen's club possibly lose money? Rick's did exactly that when the economy took a turn for the worse. But now, investment bankers' bonuses and corporate expense accounts are back, so Rick's is ringing the cash register once again.

In the fiscal first quarter, revenue at Rick's rose just 4.2% to $20.9 million. A sharp drop in advertising and marketing expenses helped push earnings up by 165%, to $2.1 million or $0.21 per share.

Rick's Las Vegas club (of all places) is still losing money, partly because casinos like MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) are able to keep guests on site instead of losing them to off-Strip gentlemen's clubs. This summer, we should discover the long-term fate of the Las Vegas club; if it continues to lose money, I wouldn't be surprised if the company cut it loose.

Following the ill-timed Las Vegas club deal, and the breakup of a deal to purchase club operator VCG Holding (Nasdaq: VCGH), Rick's appears to be taking on a more conservative expansion plan. Management is now focused on organic growth, with an acquisition sprinkled in every quarter or so. We'll see how long that plan lasts, but it looks like the right way to go for now.

Dancing into the next quarter
If you're looking for a new sin stock or a way to profit from the Super Bowl now that the game is over, Rick's may be the place you're looking for. With seven locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I'd bet that business was good for the weeks leading up to the big game.

With profits on the mend and a potential Super Bowl boost next quarter, Rick's Cabaret is a sin stock worth a second look.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium is not disclosing whether he has been a Rick's Cabaret patron. He does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

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