The Lucky Dragon Casino, Las Vegas, has finally found a new owner, after the shuttered venue was purchased for $36m by Ahern Rentals CEO Don Ahern, despite the hotel and casino costing $160m to build just three years ago.
The site was opened in November 2016 in a bid to attract underserved Chinese nationals, however disappointing gaming revenue and a February 2018 foreclosure auction enforced in lieu of a $90m loan led to separate auctions in September and October registering no interest.
The venture was also the focus of a legal dispute in September last year, after it was revealed that 179 foreign investors, who had pledged $98.5m in return for the promise of securing EB-5 visas for permanent citizenship, were likely to be denied both return and residency.
Though US Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman Michael Bars stated that preliminarily approved visa applicants will “not automatically” lose a green card based on the sale, the fractional purchase price dashes hopes of any financial remuneration.
The Lucky Dragon ceased gaming operations in January 2018 “to establish new partnerships that will enhance the property’s long-term positioning and provide a better guest experience,” however those gaming operations will now cease permanently.
The 27,000 sq ft gaming floor – which previously held 300 slot machines and 30 gaming tables – will be converted into conference, meeting and event facilities, in line with a campaign in Las Vegas to expand the city’s non-gaming hospitality offering.
The sale of the two and a half acre site had primarily been intended to cover $50m of debt owed to initial loan provider Snow Covered Capital, however CBRE Group listing broker Michael Parks stated Don Ahern was one of few “financially capable” bidders to demonstrate interest.
Though Ahern, who inherited control of the family construction rental business in 1994, outlined no timescale for development, he stated “I absolutely will not keep the name.”