Las Vegas is bouncing back from a long slump, and Asians are providing the cash at its gaming table. Players from the world’s biggest continent have bumped up baccarat to the largest game in town, and investors from Asia are behind the curtain when it comes to new projects.
SLS and Asian hot money
One of the main telltale signs of Vegas revival is the launch of SLS Las Vegas in late August. The SLS is the first resort property to open its doors after the 2010 debut of Cosmopolitan on the famed strip. The owner SBE Entertainment has brought its new found dynamism to the once illustrious hotel.
SBE Entertainment, prior to its buy, was known for its chic eateries, clubs and hotels. It had brought the hotel, formerly known as the Sahara Hotel in 2007and watched in dismay as a number of other resorts in the area was abandoned. When Sahara was closed by SBE in 2011, the strip’s northern end looked bleak. Asian investors are now reclaiming the lost glory.
Power of visa
The 3,600 employeees and their resort guests who are eating at The Griddle and listening to Lenny Kravitz live owe their good fortune to Asian investors and the US investment visa category. Steve Gallaway of Global Market Advisers believes that without the EB-5, there would have been no SLS.
The EB-5 program involves an investment of $50,000 into an economically afflicted area- and Las Vegas has qualified for this program from 2008- may grant the residency to investor as part of the program. It is estimated by Global Market advisers that the Chinese and the Thai investors pushed $150 million into the SLS. Investors from China under the EB-5 visa scheme also invested $100 million into Grand Casino Hotel located Vegas downtown.
Bringing back mojo
The transformation of the Sahara into the SLS Las Vegas came at an expense of $415 million and included a total of 1,600 rooms, a number of SBE’s trademarked restaurants and clubs. It was done only to satisfy the retail cravings of millenials who will happily put a large sum of money on entertainment and a champagne bottle but not on a dice roll.