The new Lucky Dragon Casino, set to open in Las Vegas on 3 December 2016, will be the first casino in the American gambling capital designed specifically to appeal to Chinese gamblers.
Featuring what has been called a “heavily feng shui’ed” design by the Lucky Dragon Casino’s CEO David Jacoby, the casino is stuffed full of eight-sided tables and has no floor or room numbers containing the unlucky (by Chinese standards) number four.
Much more than folk traditions has informed the choices the Lucky Dragon Casino owners have taken with planning, however. Despite its relatively compact size with just 203 rooms, the casino hosts an impressive five authentic Chinese restaurants which will cater for Chinese gamblers, who are known for craving their own native cuisine above all others.
Known especially for their love of Baccarat, with it’s relatively favourable odds but low skill requirements, Chinese gamblers are considered to be a highly lucrative group within the industry. Australia’s Crown Resort, who rely heavily on the Chinese market (and suffered a raid and arrests from Chinese gambling authorities recently) is in the process of building its $2 billion Alon Las Vegas resort, set to open in 2019.
Although the Lucky Dragon Casino will be relatively small compared to many of its rivals, Jacoby is unperturbed.
“Let them fight over the 1% and let us fight over the remaining 99%,” he told the Los Angeles Times recently. Referring to the Lucky Dragon Casino’s more authentic fare he added, “No General Tso’s or egg rolls here.”
The highly touted cuisine will be made available to punters as they use the seven VIP baccarat suites on a second floor terrace. On offer will be dim sum, wonton noodles, congee, and fresh seafood flown in from around the world.
The emphasis on food comes at a cost to traditional Las Vegas casino staples, like night clubs or large swimming pools, but it is a very well-calculated gamble. Sunbathing has never been popular among the Chinese.
Funding for the casino has come largely from the US government’s EB-5 visa programme, which allows foreign investors to gain residency in exchange for an investment of $500,000 that creates American jobs. The Lucky Dragon Casino is expected to employ 800 workers.
The Lucky Dragon Casino will be opening just as Las Vegas becomes a more attractive destination for long-haul passengers from China as well. China’s Hainan Airlines launches its direct service from Beijing to Las Vegas just in time for passengers to check in on the first day Jacoby’s casino is open.