Las Vegas welcomed its newest casino on the weekend, but if you made it inside, you might have believed you were in Macau.
Friday saw the soft opening of the Lucky Dragon, the first new casino to be built from the ground up in Vegas since the ill-fated Cosmopolitan opened in 2010. The property, located on Sahara Avenue just off the Las Vegas Strip, is scheduled to have its official grand opening on December 3.
The Lucky Dragon is smaller than the behemoths that have opened in Vegas in the past few decades, featuring only 203 hotel rooms. The gaming floor is also smaller, only around 27,500-square feet.
The Nevada Gaming Commission gave the Lucky Dragon its approval last month. General Manager Matthew Harkness told the Commission that while the casino floor wasn’t large, “it does have a much bigger feel to it when you walk in.”
The gaming floor features around 300 slot machines and 37 gaming tables, of which the majority are dedicated to baccarat and pai gow, while only four tables offer blackjack and there is no craps table. There’s also a high-limit gaming area called the Emerald Room and a “luxurious” VIP gaming parlor.
The baccarat emphasis is due to the property being squarely pitched at Asian customers residing in Nevada and California, as well as those further up the coast to the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Only about 10% of the clientele is expected to come from abroad but the property intends to make full use of the new Beijing-Vegas direct flights, as the first plane load is scheduled to arrive the day before Lucky Dragon’s official opening.
Hotel signs are displayed in Mandarin first, then English. During a media tour on Saturday, the property’s VP of marketing, Jordan Seager, addressed reporters in Mandarin. VegasInc quoted Seager saying that the property would endeavor to cater to individual customers’ linguistic preferences, be they Mandarin, English, Tagalog, Korean or Vietnamese.
In keeping with Asian tradition, the property has no fourth floor. Lucky Dragon’s Asian influences even extend to the food court, which has been designed to look like an Asian night market. And hanging over the center of the casino floor is a 23-foot-tall, 1.25-ton glass sculpture of – wait for it – a dragon. Only gamblers will be able to vouch for how lucky the beast turns out to be.