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Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino shuts down gaming operations

5 January 2018

The casino's eye-catching sculpture.

The casino's eye-catching sculpture.

On Thursday morning, Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino announced it would be temporarily suspending its gaming and casino restaurant operations. The one-year-old casino – and the only prominently Asian-themed casino in Las Vegas, located just a block away from the Strip – has experienced some difficulty in attracting guests and remarked in a statement that it is "beginning the process of reorganization."

The property's 204-room hotel and its gift shop will remain open, while the Cha Garden restaurant will offer a full bar during evenings and an enhanced food menu.

The statement continues, "While this is a difficult decision, this repositioning 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 closures, which come only six weeks before Chinese New Year Celebrations will bring thousands of Asian guests to Las Vegas, can't help but seem particularly melancholy. The first casino in Las Vegas to offer authentic Asian gaming and dining opened to much fanfare in December 2016. Near the one-year anniversary of its grand opening, the casino modified its offerings, increasing VIP space, introducing rolling chips and shuffling its signature restaurant, Pearl Ocean, to the first floor from the second. Shortly thereafter, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the casino was in financial trouble, and the staff was pared down.

According to Lucky Dragon's statement, those who were laid off "will have the opportunity to rejoin the Lucky Dragon team when gaming and additional restaurant operations resume." In December 2017, the casino employed over 500 full- and part-time employees. It's unclear how many were let go.

John DeCree, a Union Gaming analyst, told the Review-Journal, "It is tough to compete in Las Vegas against major operators that have been around a long time. It takes a while to ramp up a new casino. If you don’t have deep pockets, it could be difficult to keep operating.”

Lucky Dragon's reorganization could take as little as six months.

Abby Messick

Abby served as an associate editor for the Casino City editorial team for three years, between 2015 and 2018.
Abby Messick
Abby served as an associate editor for the Casino City editorial team for three years, between 2015 and 2018.