Photo by Krystal Ramirez

The Dragon Comp

They’re making moves at Lucky Dragon. After just two months, the Dragon’s Alley night market has closed. That big space will become the location of the Pearl Ocean restaurant and a new noodle bar, while the second-floor Pearl Ocean area will be used for more gaming. It’s also rumored that craps will be added to the games mix; the casino opened without a single dice table, as well as no bingo, keno, poker or a sportsbook. These all look like good changes. The more interesting developments, however, are related to marketing and the casino’s apparent decision to court the locals market.

Lucky Dragon is a small resort that doesn’t have a lot of amenities, but it has excellent restaurants that serve top-level Asian cuisine at good prices. Show a Nevada ID and get 20 percent off. Show a Dragon Club card and get 5 percent off, for a total discount of 25 percent for locals.

That’s an excellent deal, but there’s a little-known instacomp currently available that’s even better. Earn 10 points on your club card and get an $8 comp for the Bao Now eatery, which operates 24/7 serving noodle dishes and dim sum. This may not sound like much, but mathematically it’s a powerhouse.

Ten points is $100 coin-in, so you’ll qualify in about 10 minutes of normal play on quarter machines. The comp constitutes a lofty 8 percent return on your first $100 in action. Show Nevada ID and you get the locals discount on top of it, making it more like a 10 percent comp rate. If you play at the bar, get a drink as soon as you sit down. That’s worth a minimum of $5. If you get two drinks in the course of qualifying, you’ve turned it into a 20 percent play. OK, it’s small money, but you don’t come across a casino promotion this good very often, and you can do it once per day!

Of course, it’s possible to lose $40–$50 while playing $100, but that happens rarely. Losses will usually be much less, and you could easily walk away a winner. What’s important is the expected loss per play. The best video poker schedules at the 25-cent level are Bonus Poker and Jacks or Better, both of which return just under 98.5 percent. That sets the expected loss, assuming you play video poker at an average skill level, at about $3.

If you’re a new club member, you’ll get a minimum of $8 in free play for joining and be eligible for mail offers from a casino that’s being aggressive in trying to build its initial customer base.

I was told at the club booth that the Dragon comp is scheduled to be offered only through the end of February, but that’s OK; if it’s discontinued, there’s a good chance that something similar will take its place. Ask at the booth before playing.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and