Just one year, one month and a day after celebrating its official grand opening on Dec 3, 2016, the Asian-themed Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino temporarily closed all gaming and restaurant operations at 7am on Thursday as the Las Vegas casino struggles to attract patrons.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the move by Lucky Dragon puts hundreds of jobs in jeopardy along with $60 million worth of loans from Chinese investors seeking permanent green cards through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administered EB-5 program.
In a statement on Thursday morning, the company said, “Effective immediately Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino is beginning the process of repositioning and, in doing so, will have a reduction in staff while it temporarily closes all gaming and restaurant operations,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In the statement, the company reportedly said that the restaurants and casino floor would resume operations “within six months.” The Sahara Avenue property’s 203-room hotel will reportedly remain open, along with the hotel’s first-floor bar, Cha Garden restaurant and gift shop.
The news agency reports that according to a hotel worker who was taking reservations over the phone on Thursday morning, all 203 of the hotel’s guestrooms are booked during CES 2018, a global consumer electronics and consumer technology trade show that takes place every January in Las Vegas and starts on Tuesday.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Lucky Dragon opted not to disclose whether “repositioning” meant the name of the casino would be changed or its focus on Asian patrons.
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Following the Cosmopolitan, Lucky Dragon is the first purpose-built gaming project in the city in six years. Located near the north end of the Strip, the boutique casino was five years in the making from concept to ribbon-cutting. Upon its opening in December last year, the property had plans to hire 800 people, however, the relatively small 27,500 square foot casino floor that is heavily represented by baccarat tables never drew the crowds that were expected.
In order to cut operating costs, just a few months after opening Lucky Dragon shut down one of its restaurants and about a hundred people including the general manager were fired, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
As of December, upwards of 500 full and part-time workers were employed by Lucky Dragon. According to the report, no indication was given by the company as to just how many individuals would temporarily be without a job.
However, the company reportedly said in the statement that once the casino reopens, staff that had been laid off will be able to return.
The project was funded with loans to the tune of $60 million from 120 Chinese families, who through the USCIS administered EB-5 program, are seeking American citizenship. However, the investors now face losing their money along with the right to a green card if the five-year-long project fails to deliver.
Named for the employment-based fifth preference visa that those who participate receive, under the EB-5 Program, entrepreneurs and their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, are eligible to apply for a green card if they “make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.”