Lucky Dragon casino-hotel opens just off Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – An Asian-themed property catering to Chinese gamblers and guests has become the first new casino-hotel to open in nearly six years along the Las Vegas Strip.

The Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino began operations Saturday, in what officials characterized as a soft opening, ahead of a Dec. 3 grand opening, KSNV-TV reported ( ).

With about 200 hotel rooms, the property just off Sahara Avenue is small by Las Vegas standards. The casino has more baccarat than blackjack, and only about 300 slot machines, compared with thousands at most Strip resorts.

The Las Vegas Sun reports ( ) the centre of the casino surrounds a 15-foot, 1.25-ton glass sculpture of a dragon, and the food court was built to resemble Asian night markets with multiple restaurants and street food vendors.

Dave Jacoby, chief operating officer, told KSNV the Lucky Dragon aims to attract overseas tourists and local residents looking for authentic Asian cuisine and popular games.

Guest signs are in Chinese and English, and the hotel elevator doesn’t list a fourth floor because the number is considered unlucky in some Asian cultures.

The Sun reported that when the resort won final Nevada Gaming Commission approval last month, General Manager Matthew Harkness said it will market to Asian customers in Las Vegas, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest U.S. and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The casino was financed with money from Chinese investors and developed by privately held Las Vegas Economic Impact Regional Center through the EB-5 visa program, which grants green cards to foreigners in return for investments of at least $500,000 on job-creating projects.