Lucky Dragon Sells for $36 Million to Construction Equipment Company

The Lucky Dragon saga has taken yet another odd turn. The failed casino was purchased for $36 million by the owner of an equipment rental company, Don Ahern.

The biggest surprise is we didn’t break the story. Ha, ha. We find us hysterical.

Lucky Dragon

Dibs on the dragon.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the Lucky Dragon sale closed on April 22, 2019 with Don Ahern, CEO of construction equipment firm Ahern Rentals.

Please try to contain your excitement.

The new owner plans to re-open the Lucky Dragon under a new name (a solid strategy) as a non-gaming hotel (insert sad trombone here).

Ahern says he will turn the Lucky Dragon’s casino space into conference and convention space. The sad trombone player is being put through his paces on this one.

The Asian-themed Lucky Dragon closed in October 2018, probably because the casino had no craps table. And we couldn’t find a slice of pizza to save our life.

Lucky Dragon

Dibs on…nevermind.

While $36 million is more than we expected a buyer to pay (a bankruptcy auction garnered zero bidders), it was considerably less than what was owed on the hotel, about $50 million.

In the Las Vegas Review-Journal article, Enrique Landa of Associate Capital (linked to the Lucky Dragon’s lender, Snow Covered Capital) said, the Lucky Dragon “is a terrific property with a bright future.”

It’s just that kind of extraordinary vision and business acumen that helped the Lucky Dragon trainwreck happen.

Lucky Dragon

“Zài jiàn,” Lucky Dragon.

You do not, by the way, want to delve into the financial wheelings and dealings of this whole debacle. About 179 EB-5 investors have been left holding the bag, losing $550,000 each because the casino didn’t stay in operation long enough for the investors to earn their promised green cards.

Lucky Dragon’s challenging location made it a longshot from day one, so it’ll be interesting to see what the new owner might have in mind.

We’re seeing some cross-promotional ideas with Dig This, for starters.

And we just registered Just saying.

13 thoughts on “Lucky Dragon Sells for $36 Million to Construction Equipment Company

  1. Andrew

    How the heck can somebody trust EB-5 money tied developers anymore after this ? Seriously,even the Circa EB-5 page looks like a total scam.
    Good luck to the new owner….heck, he must be doing very well at renting equipments if he can afford to part ways with 36$ milions…

  2. Dragon Steve

    Aw man, I was hoping it would reopen as the Lucky Dragon. That place had such a relaxed, chill vibe.

  3. Gary

    I’m thinking he will sit on it until Resorts World opens with the expansion of the convention center. Then he will easily double his money. That whole area will be going through some major changes over the next few years.

  4. Vegas Insight

    So, will there be maintenance of a gaming license for the property… the once every two years deal, or whatever it is, where the temporary trailer rolls onto the lot?

    Not sure how much hotel/conference demand there is at the site, but if it can make a buck or two annually, and it’s gaming ready for the day when the north strip fills in, about 100 years from now, then that $36M investment is going to be worth $1 billion.

    1. Andrew

      My thought exactly,will the new owner be interested in having a gaming license? The way I see it this place will be a parasite hotel for resorts world,pretty much like the holiday inn boardwalk was. By then they may be interested in becoming a slot joint too..

    2. doug

      $1 billion value in 100 years is an appreciation rate of about 3.4%, not much better than inflation or putting your money in the bank. A bankruptcy sale like this, when he is paying well below the construction cost, could well return 50% or better. I agree the play probably depends on Resorts world etc. Once people are staying in it and booking meetings again, which will probably be in just a couple of years, it could well be worth at least the original investment of $98 million. If not, it will probably be a budget alternative to its neighbors like SLS and Stratosphere.

      1. Vegas Insight

        A few of you folks take hyperbole way too seriously.

        But I enjoyed the mathematical analysis of hyperbole.

  5. alex

    If they’re smart, they will attach the new hotel to one of the major hotel groups (Marriott, Hilton, IHG). Lots of people are very loyal to their preferred hotel group…to the point where they will stay in an out-of-the-way location just to get a perk like free breakfast or the chance of an upgrade.

    But, that strategy also means that the national sales team for the hotel group will be selling the location as a option for meeting planners. That can be huge for a hotel like this one.

    Finally, aligning with a hotel group means access to corporate business travels from large corporations. Most large companies direct their employees to one hotel group in order to maximize discounts (which are based on volume). Becoming a Marriott/Hilton/IHG-branded hotel would help get heads in the beds.

  6. Pete B

    I have heard that Aherns is deeply involved with the Planet 13 guys. How involved, dunno. Maybe they are going to make it a weed hotel/distribution center. That would not surprise me.

  7. Doug

    BTW Bob Stupak would have made a mint out of this place. The worse the location, the easier it is to trap the rubes and vacuum out their cash. Tease them with a bizarre promo package with dubious goodies.

    1. William Wingo

      Amen. Bob was really one of a kind. He used to say because he was Polish, he lost money on every transaction–but made it up on volume.

    2. Andrea

      Stupak times were totally different,he would have gone banrkrupt in a month if he’d ever tried some of his gimmicks in today’s market…


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