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Las Vegas Casino Death Watch

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Last updated: October 31, 2018

Recent News


Well, the primary lender, Snow Covered Capital, placed the opening bid for the shuttered Lucky Dragon. It turned out to be the only bid, so they own it. What happens to it next is an open question. Stay tuned.


The Lucky Dragon creditor hopes to sell the beleaguered hotel/casino at auction on October 30. It's unclear, though, if anyone will even show up. We'll see what happens. It would be great if someone could find a way to make a go with this property.


The bad news keeps piling up for the Lucky Dragon. The auction didn't go well, the hotel is about to be shuttered, after which we should expect a foreclosure sale. The LVRJ says it expects to close down casino operations on October 2, so on the off chance you want to stay there, you need to get there in a hurry. Unfortunately, this place has been a disaster as a business. We have no idea what will happen to it, but we hope the folks who operated the Dim Sum restaurant can find a place to sell their wares.


It has been a quiet time as far as Las Vegas casino transactions, but we got one today, even though the hotel being transacted no longer has a casino. The Westin Casino has been sold. The purchase price is $195.5 million. This place used to have a casino. It was known as the Casino Max for a while, before that it was the Westin Casuarina, and way back when it was called the Maxim.


In recent months, the two major sources for Las Vegas business news, the Las Vegas Review Journal and the Las Vegas Sun, have adopted a new online publication model. Folks can now view a limited number of articles from each publication per month without paying a subscription fee. First, we at the Death Watch don't begrudge newspapers trying to figure out how to pursue a viable business model in the Internet age. We wish them luck. But it does create some problems.

Going forward, the Death Watch will still link to those sources which allow a finite number of free accesses per given time, but we will preferentially link out to sources that are free (or free-er) over those that charge for content. We just wanted to provide some transparency toward our thought process on this issue.


The RJ provides some additional information on the construction project by Derek Stevens, owner of The D and Golden Gate casinos, in downtown Las Vegas on the site of the former Las Vegas club plus neighboring parcels. We don't have a name, a detailed construction schedule, or an estimated opening date. We do have a height, though, 459 feet. More information as it becomes available.


Tomorrow, the Monte Carlo casino will officially become Park. The biggest impact is that it means that eventually someone will have to go through the LV Revealed web site pages and change every occurrence of "Monte Carlo" to "Park". Honestly, the MGM folks probably have to expend a little more effort in this matter than we do, but that's their business. Note that construction associated with the upgrade and re-theming will be ongoing after the official name change.


We've got some news to report today on other matters, so it's convenient to discuss the fate of the Lucky Dragon. Weren't they supposed to go through an auction back in February? Whatever happened to that? Apparently, it never happened, because folks are now discussing selling it via bankruptcy court. The way folks are talking about it, it sounds like some think it may not be viable, period. If so, that's too bad. At the same time, with it all closed up and creditors worried about how or whether they're going to get paid, it doesn't sound like folks are in a huge hurry to resolve this.


Pretty big news about the Fontainbleau carcas, it has a new name, "The Drew", and a projected opening date, "late 2020". We always view these sorts of announcements with some amount of skepticism, but this is a pretty big deal. It's nice to hear about concrete plans concerning one of the region's biggest reminders of the great recession. The next step will be to see substantial progress toward the opening date, but still, this is welcome news.


The foreclosure auction for Lucky Dragon has been postponed for two weeks, until February 22. The only reason we can imagine for delaying this auction is the hope that there will be more interest later than there is now. That's not a reason to be optimistic about it reopening any time soon.


It might seem like this isn't directly Death Watch related, but it's undeniably huge Las Vegas casino news. Steve Wynn is no longer at the helm of Wynn Resorts. In this day and age, it feels kind of inevitable, and we have a difficult time feeling sorry for him, but no matter how you slice it, it's a big deal. As far as it pertains to the Death Watch, will this affect what happens to the former New Frontier site? If not the eventual plans, will it at least affect the timetable? We expect it to take a while to shake out.


More Lucky Dragon news. The casino will face foreclosure on February 6. What happens after that will depend completely on what the new owners want to do with it.


Casino Closing: Uh oh, looks like those concerns about Lucky Dragon proved to be well founded. The casino announced it is "temporarily" closing its gaming and restaurant operations. They say they will resume operations "within six months", but the announcement is required to be upbeat. We're far less confident that it will turn out this way. This is an unfortunate turn of events.


Aside from pictures of casinos being torn down, the type of headline most certain to get the attention of the Death Watch is, "<casino name> Appears to be Struggling". We see such a headline in today's RJ, this time mentioning Lucky Dragon. We never want to see a local business struggle, and we really like the dim sum restaurant there. We'd also like to read the whole article, but right now the RJ is hosting ads that take over one's web browser and try to get us to install malware. Come on, RJ, get your shit together.


Demolition continues at the Las Vegas Club downtown. Honestly, that's not really news, but when we have a chance to link to some fine photos of the destruction of an old Las Vegas casino, well, let's just say there's no way we can resist.


We know that Steve Wynn is not happy with the fact that his eponymous resort is basically sitting on the edge of the Earth. He has been hoping that someone would build something on the lot across the Boulevard that used to support the New Frontier. Well, it seems that he has decided to take matters into his own hands. Wynn is buying 38 acres there from Crown Resorts, who bought it from El Ad, who bought it from Phil Ruffin. There is no word on what he plans to do with the land, but we're guessing he'll do something with it after complaining for so many years about having a giant blank spot in the landscape next door.


The new owners of the Fontainebleau have done something with their relatively recent purchase. They've changed the name to "Project Blue". It's even less an impressive move once one realizes that they have to use a different name since the project is no longer associated with the namesake property in Miami. So, this is literally the least effort someone could have put into a name change. It's possible that the new owners are making massive progress on plans for the new place, but if so, they're keeping it a closely guarded secret.


There's a good article in the Las Vegas Sun today about MGM's plans for Las Vegas, among other gaming jurisdictions. Short version: There aren't any big changes or new properties on their radar. They're going to finish the remodel of the Monte Carlo to the Park, and they don't plan big changes to Circus Circus. Once done with the Park, they may sink some money into remodeling New York-New York or the Luxor or the Excalibur, or maybe the Mirage. So, the news is that there's not much news here, nor do we expect a lot of new news from MGM in the next several years.


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