Struggling Las Vegas Casino Closes Gambling Floor For ‘Reorganization’


The Las Vegas casino-hotel called Lucky Dragon announced late last week that it has “temporarily” closed its gaming floor.

“Effective immediately Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino is beginning the process of repositioning and, in doing so, will have a reduction in staff while it temporarily closes all gaming and restaurant operations,” the company said in a statement.

The casino, which targeted the local Asian-American customer, added that the move was “a difficult decision,” but that the “reorganization paves the way for Lucky Dragon to establish new partnerships that will enhance the property’s long-term positioning.”

Gamblers can still cash in casino chips and tickets, Lucky Dragon said.

The casino sits slightly off the Las Vegas Strip on Sahara Ave., just south of the Stratosphere casino-hotel. Lucky Dragon sits more or less across the street for SLS Las Vegas, a casino that has struggled mightily since it opened in 2014. SLS was formerly known as the Sahara casino.

Lucky Dragon, which opened in late 2016 and was the first brand new Strip-area casino to be built since The Cosmopolitan in 2010, said that it plans to re-launch gambling “within six months.” Nearly all of the property’s food and beverage offerings also closed Thursday, but the hotel, which has 203 rooms, and the property’s gift shops remain in operation.

The facility was dubbed a “boutique casino” due to its small size relative to the giant casinos nearby. It has just 27,500 square feet of gaming space (about a third of Stratosphere’s floor). The casino’s primary gambling offering was baccarat, and that could be the source of the problem. The casino only had “a few” blackjack tables, which it called a “Western-style” game.

According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, casinos on or around the Las Vegas Strip won $1.18 billion from baccarat over the 12 months prior to Dec. 1, 2017, a 3.1 percent decline compared to the same period the previous year. Outside of the slot machines, baccarat is the biggest revenue generator for the casinos. The Las Vegas Sun reported that baccarat expectations were high as recently as March of last year, when the casino said that it was planning to open a second high-roller lounge. That never happened.

Lucky Dragon’s announcement last week didn’t come out of left field. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the casino was forced to close one of its restaurants and lay off about 100 employees just a few months after it started taking bets.

The casino did not have a poker room. There are 18 card rooms on or around the Strip.

Lucky Dragon’s partial closure continues an interesting stretch for the north end of the state’s main casino corridor. In May, it was made public that the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas, another Asian-themed casino, will be delayed yet again, this time until 2020. There were some arguably positive developments, however, when the unfinished casino-hotel called Fontainebleau, located near SLS, was sold for $600 million in August, and when Wynn Resorts in December announced that it was acquiring about 38 acres of land near its flagship casino, including a plot once belonging to the abandoned Crown Resorts project called Alon, for more than $330 million.

Wynn said that it wants to “change tourist visitation patterns in Las Vegas” by “drawing more visitors to the north end of Las Vegas Blvd.”