Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 | 6:15 p.m.
The Lucky Dragon will be opening Saturday night.
The Asian-themed casino — located on Sahara Avenue just west of the Strip — is the first ground-up resort built near the Las Vegas Strip in several years and has a grand opening scheduled for Dec. 3.
However, the company has decided to open two weeks earlier — at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Developers of the Lucky Dragon have incorporated the Asian theme throughout the resort. The food court was built to resemble Asian night markets, areas in Asian cities with multiple restaurants and street food vendors. The center of the casino is marked by a 15-foot, 1.25-ton glass sculpture of a dragon.
“I’ve been inside, and I’ve had a tour,” said Anthony Curtis of Las Vegas Advisor, the website that broke the story earlier Friday. "It looks terrific. It’s small, really small. But it makes a lot of sense the way it’s laid out. I’ve also seen the rooms and the rooms look good but seem pricey.
“It’s very Asian. I think it’s got 40 table games and 27 are baccarat. Only four are blackjack. There’s no craps. It’s very true to a kind of Asian style.”
When the resort won its final gaming approvals at a Nevada Gaming Commission meeting last month, General Manager Matthew Harkness said the resort will market to domestic Asian customers in Las Vegas and Southern California and also in the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Analysts who watch the gaming industry say the resort’s focus on the Asian market could take away customers from other casinos.
In the September issue of its Global Gaming Handbook, the financial research and credit rating agency FitchRatings said the Lucky Dragon could “partially cannibalize existing local Asian play from Red Rock Resorts or Boyd Gaming.”
During a recent conference call with investors, Marc Falcone, the CFO of Red Rock Resorts, which owns Palace Station, acknowledged that the Lucky Dragon could have an impact on Palace Station. But he expects the effect to be temporary.
“It’s similar to when other properties open. And here, it’s not entirely different to the scenario when the SLS opened,” Falcone said. “We expect there will be some trials from our customers (trying out) Lucky. But we feel we should be able to get our customers to return after.”