It was meant to be a formidable competitor on the Las Vegas skyline, attracting the Asian market that was grossly underrepresented, according to its developers. However, in January 2018, less than a year after opening, the Lucky Dragon Casino & Hotel shut down its gambling operations and permanently closed eight months later. Since then, it has been looking for someone willing to take a big gamble on the unlucky property, only to not find a single suitor—until now.
Six months after it closed for not paying its bills, the Lucky Dragon has a new owner, and, in terms of Las Vegas prices, the property was purchased for pennies. Don Ahren, the chairman and CEO of a construction equipment rental company in Vegas, purchased the property for just $36 million. It cost $160 million to build the establishment two years ago.
Ahren expects to relaunch the property has a non-gaming hotel, capitalizing on the 203 keys originally offered by the venue. The casino space, which measures 27,500 square feet, will be converted into conference and meeting areas. That falls in line with the current campaign underway in Las Vegas to attract visitors for activities other than gaming. Ahren adds that the Lucky Dragon name will definitely be stripped away, but he has yet to decide on a replacement. History shows that he should stay away from names that contain “lucky” or “13.”
The Lucky Dragon was unlucky for a great number of individuals. Investments were collected from a number of Chinese nationals who were offered residency in the U.S. in exchange for their money. That scheme was facilitated through a visa program offered in the U.S., the EB-5 visa program, that allows individuals to apply for residency in exchange for investments of $500,000 or more in certain industries. However, because the Lucky Dragon never really got off the ground, those investors have lost their money, as well as the shot at residency in the United States.
There’s still a little hope for them, though, as they have been reportedly working with lawyers to try and figure out a solution to their issues. They had previously hoped to be able to recuperate something from the sale of the property, but, at a sales price of just $36,000, there isn’t anything to offer.