Lucky Dragon Closure Shakes Loose SLS Las Vegas Sale

As we’ve reported on the Twitters, the sale of SLS Las Vegas to its announced buyer, Alex Meruelo and his Meruelo Group, recently seemed very much stalled.

Now, all that’s changed.

A source with knowledge of the SLS sale says news of the closure of Lucky Dragon’s casino and restaurants caused an immediate change of course in the negotiations, with the seller (Stockbridge Capital Partners) suddenly highly motivated to meet Meruelo’s demands and seal the deal.

It’s expected Meruelo Group will take over SLS Las Vegas in late Feb. 2018.

SLS 3-D legs

Let’s hope Meruelo Group got this awesome video display as part of the deal.

It seems Alex Meruelo is a non-nonsense negotiator, and once he and his team got into the specifics of the physical condition of SLS and its finances, they pushed for more favorable terms for the sale.

Initially, Stockbridge dug in, and Meruelo’s team pulled the plug on scheduled meetings, bringing the negotiations to a screeching halt.

Out of the sad news Lucky Dragon would close its casino came a renewed interest in pushing forward with the sale. Essentially, Stockbridge caved. (Don’t expect to see the word “caved” in the news release.)

While no sale price has been floated, we suspect Alex Meruelo got a solid value, and he’ll have ample resources to give the resort (formerly the Sahara) an overhaul, including a rebrand.

SLS Las Vegas

Curious what these SLS monkey vests will go for on eBay.

We trust the deal will include a happy ending for 60 Chinese investors who recently filed a lawsuit because SLS Las Vegas has never made a profit. (The casino has consistently made about 50% of original estimates. Translation: Welcome to the Big Hurt.)

At the time of the lawsuit, Stockbridge said it didn’t think the lawsuit would deter the sale, and they were apparently correct.

SLS chandelier

If there’s a garage sale, dibs on this SLS chandelier made from the Sahara’s door handles.

According to insiders, the ownership transition is likely to involve another personnel “purge.”

Another fascinating element of this sale is how it plays into the boom taking place on the north end of The Strip, a burst of activity that includes the start of construction of Wynn Paradise Park, actual progress at Resorts World, the sale of Fontainebleau and the Alon site, an approved Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and another development about to get a boost.

We hear project next door to SLS, All Net Resort and Arena, is going to get a surprising new (wait for it) cheerleader: Alex Meruelo.

All Net Arena

All Net Arena’s ample supply of nothing could turn out to be a good deal of something.

Meruelo is expected to be a vocal proponent of All Net Resort and Arena, as it could become a draw along the lines of T-Mobile Arena, including the potential of housing (wait for it) an NBA team.

The tide is rising on the north Strip, and nobody wants to be the guy in a dingy. Or something.

Here’s us talking about all this on KLAS, because you can never have too much us.

While we feel for the employees of Lucky Dragon (they were informed of their termination when they showed up for work on the morning of Jan. 4, 2018), the demise of the Asian-themed casino has sparked intriguing new possibilities in a success-challenged neighborhood.

Expect more news about the sale of SLS Las Vegas through official (yawn) channels soon.

Update (1/7/17): On the heels of our story, Meruelo Group is now featuring SLS Las Vegas on its Web site.

Meruelo Group SLS


More to come!

22 thoughts on “Lucky Dragon Closure Shakes Loose SLS Las Vegas Sale

    1. William Wingo

      I predict they’ll have 6-5 Blackjack, 8-5 JOB Video Poker, comp meters on the and resort & parking fees. That’ll pack ’em in.

      1. Photoncounter

        Joe Sixpack and Mary Muffintop aren’t gonna waddle all that way up the strip to any casino, even if they offered a 99 cent feed trough buffet and free cigarettes.

        The “I’m in town for three days for a convention” crowd who are on generous business expense accounts like to flock with each other and roost at the shinier properties.

        SLS tried to be upscale for the millennial crowd, not realizing that when you have a Sociology Degree and a Minor in Gender Studies, along with $200K worth of student loans, the Starbucks paycheck and $25 week to Mom for groceries doesn’t leave much for blackjack.

        The new owners and the Lucky Dragon better think hard about attracting people willing and able to blow the big bucks if they want to succeed.

        1. razmaspaz

          SLS in particular had an opportunity to be the “on the strip” discount property with tons of amenities, player friendly games, AND could have offered free monorail transport to anyone staying at the hotel. Or for that matter $50 uber credit for all weekend guests. I tried so hard to like this place, but they tried so much harder to get me to hate them.

          1. Photoncounter

            We had the same experience. I visited twice. First time I left about $500 ahead and in a good mood so I stopped by the coffee place to get a black coffee. Stupid me. Since I just wanted a “black coffee” and not a half decaf soy milk hazelnut expresso jizz bomb I had to wait nearly 20 minutes while they brewed a pot! D-bags.

            Next time I visited the casino the dealer had no clue how to deal nor pay out Hands. The Pit Stiff was watching her, corrected her a couple times before I could. Seems I got the short bus dealer. Place was empty, obviously for a reason. I left pretty quickly, about even.

            Hope they get their act together with the new owners. Otherwise it’s only use will be as a billboard for successful properties.

        2. Adam

          The stereotypes notwithstanding, he or she has a point. The SLS could kill with the convention crowd. That should be the strategy.

          The problem with trying to be a discount hotel is that it’s not going to work. Like the generous few of us here reading this would end up doing the right thing. For example, taking care of the staff, gambling and helping to bring in revenue.

          However, the vast majority looking for a cheap hotel will bring a cooler, sit one the slot machines only long enough to get comp drink and then use Uber Eats to have McDonalds delivered.

          I would strive for a happier medium. And maybe loosen things up a bit on the weekend. But they have to make that money during the week and do what you have to do.

          1. Scott Roeben

            I suspect it WAS part of their strategy given the proximity to the Convention Center, but never could tap into that base. I look forward to seeing how they’re going to shift what they’re doing, other than praying for Resorts World to hurry up. “)

  1. Manybar Goatfish

    So, is it fair to say that “Free Parking” doesn’t make for such a wonderful casino experience? I don’t know what else to make of all the negative SLS reviews. You get what you pay for?

  2. Mike L

    SLS or whatever they are going to be called should advertise the crap out of the monorail, it’s a huge asset to them. Maybe make an agreement with the monorail and include the cost in the “resort fee” so up to 2 guests in each room have unlimited access to it during their stay.

  3. Wolfdog

    About the monorail, if they worked out free monorail use, I’d find myself leaving the property for the Strip, more often, for longer periods. And it still wouldn’t be free for the Strippers who might want to come play.
    I can’t see how it helps them bring in more gambling revenue.

  4. Rooster

    The SLS is a beautiful hotel, but it’s been a ghost town every time I’ve been in it. Never stayed their as a result. The only people I ever saw checking in/out were airline employees.

    I’m hoping it will give me a reason to stay their in the future.


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