Lucky Dragon, Vegas’ First Chinese-themed Casino, Opens Early on Strip

Posted on: November 21, 2016, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: January 17, 2017, 10:17h.

Lucky Dragon Casino Opens in Vegas
A giant glass dragon chandelier, fashioned from 762 individual customized glass scales and weighing 1.25 tons, is suspended above the main bar at the Lucky Dragon. (Image: Steve Marcus)

The Lucky Dragon flung open its doors at short notice and two weeks early on Saturday to give visitors a glimpse of the first casino to open on the Strip in six years, since the Cosmopolitan.

The centerpiece of the 200-room Chinese-themed property is the eponymous “lucky dragon,” a giant glass dragon chandelier, fashioned from 762 individual customized glass scales. Weighing 1.25 tons, the beast is suspended above the main bar, and the management hope it will bring customers good luck, although maybe secretly they hope not too much good luck.

“To make the dragon, the majority of our employees were needed, as individual parts go through production, from the glass-making furnace, through the metal workshop, other production processes and up to shipping,” explained Michel Dvorak of Preciosa Lighting, the Czech company that created the dragon. “Safely, we can say that more than 1,500 individual hands have touched each part of this sculpture during the process. It is really quite an astonishing piece, and we are very proud.”

Chinese Street Food

Beyond the dragon, there’s a 27,500-square-foot casino with 37 table games and 300 slot machines, plus five restaurants on the atrium level.

The restaurants will double as a “night market,” serving Chinese street food. There’s also a tea garden with its own tea sommelier, which we never even new was a thing.

Saturday was billed as the soft opening, with the grand opening still planned for December 3.  The casino, on the north side of Sahara Avenue, west of Las Vegas Boulevard, hopes to attract hordes of China’s burgeoning middle classes, and, conveniently, Hainan Airlines will begin flying nonstop from Beijing to Las Vegas the day before the grand opening celebration.

Despite this, Lucky Dragon owner Andrew Fonfa told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he expects most hotel guests to come from California.

Mohegan Sun Opens Earth Tower

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Mohegan Sun opened its new 13-story Earth Tower Hotel on Friday. The $130 million project will add 400 new rooms to the resort, complementing its preexisting Sky Tower Hotel. The tower was conceived a decade ago but the project was abandoned in 2008 due to the economic downturn.  

The new tower will increase the Mohegan Sun’s capacity to 1,600 rooms but it comes at a time when the resort is threatened by the MGM Springfield, a $950 million resort currently under construction across the border in Massachusetts.

The Mohegan tribe, along with Foxwoods operator the Mashantucket Pequots, is currently looking at building a “satellite” casino on the Massachusetts border to counteract the threat of the MGM project.