Former Owner Of The Sands Sees A Lucky Dragon

Written By Janice Doughtrey

Investment capital is always needed in the casino business, and that’s one of the reasons William Weidner is trying to get foreign investors to get aboard his new Asian-themed casino.

The new casino is going to be called the Lucky Dragon, and it’s got an Asian theme markedly lacking in Vegas currently. William Weidner has a good pedigree, though; he’s the former president of the Las Vegas Sands, whose name is enough to recommend him as a commensurate businessman.

Furthermore, it’s known worldwide that Asian gambling is a huge, extremely lucrative market. Having a themed casino in Vegas will definitely attract a specific class of gambler–at least that’s some of the thinking behind it.

Weidner is serious about the project, too. He’s already managed to drum up sixty million dollars in support via capital from foreign investors. Specifically, it has come through a visa program of the EB-5 variety.

Meanwhile, LVRA, or the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency, sees money. They’re not willing to let the developers of this new project off the hook on taxes, forcing them into foreign investment to make the project a reality. It was that or foot the bill out of their own pockets, and there are many reasons such a course of action is undesirable.

The idea for the Lucky Dragon is that it should open sometime in August. Weidner heads an organization called LVEIRC. LVEIRC stands for the Las Vegas Economic Impact Regional Center. Involved with Weidner is another gentleman by the name of Andrew Fonfa who also has some pull in the area through his provision of assistance via mano-y-mano investment advice to investors of the foreign variety.

In order to understand how the whole thing works, it’s advisable for the reader to take a gander at the project’s outline on the LVEIRC website. To summarize, investors beyond the United States are able to sustain United States residence of a conditional nature provided at least ten full-time jobs are created and maintained in a community that’s been specifically targeted and observed over the course of two consecutive years. Sound like a good deal? It is! As long as you’ve got half a million dollars lying around to invest, because that’s the buy-in. Still, after that your residency is secured, should the project be fruitful.

It’s a bit of a cagey deal from a security perspective, though ironically a division of Homeland Security is involved with immigration on this. Ideally, no financially well-endowed individuals are going to have a negative stake in acquiring citizenry; but one can never be too sure. What is for sure, however, is that Weidner has had successful ventures in the past, and economic indications across Vegas indicate this, too, will be a worthy endeavor.

There is much controversy surrounding the move, however, as some foreign investors have been pushed through the program quickly, in a way that Homeland Security experts didn’t like. Harry Reid, the senate majority leader in Washington, is largely responsible for this.

Still, the program that facilitates citizenship for foreign investors has been around a quarter of a century, and has been very successful. So perhaps it is financially lucrative. Whatever the case, the Lucky Dragon sounds like a fun casino, and hopefully it has a successful opening this August.