The Lucky Dragon Casino on the north Strip may still be on target to open this year, but it’s not receiving any tax increment financing from the city to help it get there.
A request for tax increment financing by the hotel’s developers was rejected by Las Vegas City Council members during a November redevelopment agency meeting. The Asian-focused boutique casino is being built at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. This type of public financing provides incentives for developments by way of future property tax revenue. To defray the cost of items such as traffic signals, water lines, flood control improvements, and sidewalks, rebates are granted by the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency for residential, retail, and hotel projects within the city’s redevelopment areas.
In November, city officials said that the request for direct financing by the Lucky Drago was the first in more than 20 years. The proposal, which was denied in a 6-1 vote by the City Council, raises a broader question for some of whether or not casinos should be able to benefit from such subsidies. David Jacoby, Lucky Dragon chief operating officer, said, “Had we gotten approval in November in front of the council at that time, we would have been approved to discuss a framework to allow TIF financing to be accepted for all casinos throughout our city. Which, frankly, I think, would be a good thing,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Before the vote, developers told city officials that the project had a $25 million funding gap, because funds weren’t available through the federal EB-5 program, which through job creation and investments by foreign investors aims to stimulate the U.S. economy.
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