Buyer Found for Vegas’ Shuttered Lucky Dragon

A Las Vegas businessman has bought the failed Lucky Dragon casino hotel (l.) for $36 million. He plans to reopen the 203-room hotel, closed since October. But the once-heralded Asian-themed casino is gone for good.

A Las Vegas businessman has bought the city’s shuttered Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino and plans to convert it to a non-gaming hotel.

Don Ahern, chairman and CEO of construction equipment supplier Ahern Rentals, will pay $36 million to acquire the 2.5-acre property on Sahara Avenue just west of Las Vegas Boulevard, according to local news reports.

He told reporters he will rename the 203-room hotel, which has been closed since last October, and convert the separately housed casino, closed since last January, into a meetings and convention facility. He did not provide a timeline for the reopening or for any remodeling or renovation plans.

The sale price was considerably less than the property’s primary lender, San Francisco-based Snow Covered Capital, was hoping for to cover the nearly $50 million in debt it held on the failed resort. But SCC principal Enrique Landa was glad to get it after a foreclosure auction last year failed to elicit a single meaningful bid.

Commenting on the sale, Landa characterized it as a “terrific property with a bright future,” albeit one that was undone by the wrong business model.

“We’re very glad it has a new owner with a long-term vision,” he said.

Tremendous fanfare greeted Lucky Dragon on its November 2016 debut. Not only was it the first ground-up gaming resort to open in Las Vegas in nearly a decade, but it appeared to position itself in an entirely unique way as a boutique casino targeting Asian and Asian-American gamblers with top-to-bottom Asian-themed décor and signage and with a game mix and food and beverage offering designed to back it up.

Yet it failed pretty much out of the gate. Experts have attributed this to under-capitalization

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