Exit The Dragon: Asian-Themed Vegas Casino Abruptly Closes

Written By Martin Derbyshire on January 5, 2018
Chinese Dragon statue

[toc]For at least the next six months, it’s going to be hard to get lucky at Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. One might have a tough time getting something to eat there as well.

According to a statement from Lucky Dragon, the boutique-style casino resort designed to create an authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience is beginning the process of reorganization. As a result, Lucky Dragon is temporarily closing all gaming and restaurant operations. That means all Asian cultural and gaming experiences are on hold for now.

Lucky Dragon Hotel and Cha Garden remain open

However, the 203-room hotel will remain open, as will the gift shop. Room service and morning tea and coffee will be available. Plus, Lucky Dragon’s Cha Garden indoor/outdoor tea garden and lounge will also stay open. It will feature a full-service bar at night and an extended menu.

The statement from the company indicates ownership is looking for new partners to run gaming and restaurant operations:

“This reorganization paves the way for Lucky Dragon to establish new partnerships that will enhance the property’s long term positioning and provide a better guest experience”

The restaurants closing include:

  • Pearl Ocean dim sum and seafood restaurant
  • Phoenix modern Chinese fine dining
  • Dragon’s Alley Asian street food
  • Bao Now 24-hour dumplings shop
  • Pagoda Bar
  • Atrium Bar

Lucky Dragon’s rather small by Las Vegas standards 27,500 square-foot casino is also closing. The casino featured 300 slot machines and 37 table games, with a focus on games that are popular in Asia, including Baccarat and Pai Gow Poker. Traditionally popular casino games like Blackjack were available, but in limited numbers.

Lucky Dragon sits adjacent to the Allure Las Vegas high-rise condominium on West Sahara Avenue, just off the Las Vegas Strip. However, initial plans for the property were to build a second Allure condo tower.

Developer Andrew Fonfa decided a hotel and casino was a better option in the economic climate of the day. Fonfa first considered a resort catering to cater to gay and lesbian people. Chinese investors then came aboard and plans for Lucky Dragon launched in February 2012. Construction began in May 2015.

Lucky Dragon struggled from the start

Lucky Dragon held a soft opening in November 2016 and an official grand opening on Dec. 3, 2016. However, the property was only fully operational for a little over a year before this reorganization was announced.

The property’s struggles were well documented.  In March 2017, Approximately 100 employees got fired because Lucky Dragon did not have the customer base to support them. In fact, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported last month the casino and restaurants were mostly empty.

Local Chinese gamblers also complained of a stingy gaming and comp policy. However, Lucky Dragon management claimed its gaming and comp policy was similar to that of other Las Vegas casinos.

The statement from Lucky Dragon claims all staff laid off through the reorganization will have the opportunity to rejoin the team when gaming and additional restaurant operations resume. It expects that to happen within six months.

Lucky Dragon has cancelled all gaming and dining promotions. Outstanding gaming chip and ticket redemption will be done through the hotel front desk.

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Written by
Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire is an award-winning journalist, video and film producer with a decade of experience covering the brick and mortar casino, poker and iGaming industries. He has produced content for top media outlets including PokerNews, Bluff Magazine and PokerListings, and has crossed the globe scooping stories and interviewing major players in all corners of the high-stakes gambling world.

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