[toc]Normally a casino considers it a big problem to have to remodel less than six months after opening. Lucky Dragon Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada is more than happy to rejigger casino layout. The management is doing so to make way for the glut of unexpected VIP players frequenting the property.
VIP gaming space expanding on the second floor
High stakes players at the Lucky Dragon preferred to play in private spaces within the casino. In order to accommodate them, the casino will be moving one of its restaurants, Pearl Ocean, downstairs to the first floor. Lucky Dragon chief operating officer Dave Jacoby explained the impetus behind the move to the Los Angeles Times:
“We find that we’re doing more business out of the higher-end players than we had originally anticipated. That has sparked some increased focus … on making sure we dedicate enough of our resources to that type of play.”
In the interim, the quick-service restaurant Dragon’s Alley on the first floor will close to make room for the renovations. The plan is for it to re-open as a smaller noodle bar at an unnamed date in the future.
Jacoby maintains the casino is still focused on appealing to Asian customers of all economic background, but the moves do seem to indicate a de-emphasis of low stakes players and increasing the appeal of the property to higher-end clientele.
Baccarat the main driver of VIP casino customers
The game of choice among the Lucky Dragon High Rollers is baccarat. The card game has always been extremely popular in Asian communities. Therefore, it is to be expected the game was in high demand at the boutique casino.
If numbers are any indication, the casino is not stealing away existing baccarat players. January saw a huge surge in casino baccarat take in Nevada, up 55.1 percent from January 2017 to $157.9 million. The total baccarat volume was up to $935.6 million.
Some of the surge can be attributed to the dates of Chinese New Year. This year the annual celebration began in January unlike 2016, when festivities began in February.
The uptick in baccarat was deemed good news by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
“We really haven’t seen a lot of baccarat volume increases lately. It’s been a struggle. We’ve only had five increases in the last 25 months,” senior research analyst Michael Lawton told the Las Vegas Sun.
January casino revenues in the Silver State saw uptick nearly across the board with over $1 billion in gaming revenue.
Lucky Dragon’s appeal to Asian customers paying off
There are many Asian-Americans frequenting Lucky Dragon, which is located just off the Las Vegas Strip on Sahara Avenue. Jacoby said before the casino opened he expected ten percent of the venue’s customer base to come directly from Asia.
Newly introduced direct flights from Beijing on Hainan Airlines have helped to attract some customers. In his L.A. Times interview, Jacoby also mentioned how much the VIP clientele appreciates the staff speaking their native languages.
One other cultural appeal Lucky Dragon brings to the table which is difficult to find at other casinos is the comp program. The property uses what is called a rolling chip loyalty program where a player’s win/loss rate is based on how much they buy-in for, not how much they win.
“If you buy in for $100,000, you get $100,000 in dead chips,” Jacoby “If you buy in for $100,000,” he explains, “you get $100,000 in dead chips. You wager what you wager. If you win, we pay in live chips [that can be played elsewhere or redeemed for cash], and we take your dead chips. It ends up being a perfect accounting process.””>explained to Seven Magazine. “You wager what you wager. If you win, we pay in live chips [that can be played elsewhere or redeemed for cash], and we take your dead chips. It ends up being a perfect accounting process.”
The unambiguous comp program, the homey nature of the property where players can speak in their native tongues with ease, and the baccarat offerings are all helping Lucky Dragon Casino find its niche in the incredibly competitive Nevada casino market.