Lucky Dragon Casino Brings a Permanent Rolling Chips Program to Las Vegas
The Lucky Dragon Casino is the first Las Vegas casino to offer a rolling chips program on a regular basis. Other Las Vegas casinos have tried rolling chips as a way to lure VIP guests, but none have embraced the system the way the new Chinese-themed boutique casino has.
Like the various more limited rolling chips programs in the city’s past, the rolling chips program at the Lucky Dragon is designed to attract high rollers. Anyone with ten-thousand dollars to gamble is paid a commission on their play, but they must be willing to use non-negotiable chips to receive that commission.
Emerald Room VIP Section
Because the reception at the Lucky Dragon has been positive, the casino is expanding its VIP gaming space. Dave Jacoby, COO of Lucky Dragon, said in mid-February that the casino would close the Dragon’s Alley (“Asian night market”) cafeteria-style eatery and expand the Pearl Ocean restaurant in order to open up a 1st floor VIP gaming space, the Emerald Room. Pearl Ocean provides food service for the Emerald Room.
The Lucky Dragon already had a VIP gaming area on the 2nd floor, so the Emerald Room offers additional space for premium players and high rollers. The rolling chips program is available for anyone who agrees to play for at least $10,000.
What are Rolling Chips?
Casinos which use a rolling chips program have a precise way to track a customer’s play and provide cashback. In fact, the cashback paid by rolling chips programs is referred to as a commission, at least in the Macau system. Rolling chips became famous among the VIP high roller games of baccarat in Macau.
Rolling chips are “non-negotiable chips” provided to VIP players in those casinos. A VIP player does not walk into a casino and pay cash for chips. Instead, high rollers play on credit in most casinos around the globe. In Macau, rolling chips are given to the players, usually by junket operators. The main trait of rolling chips is they cannot be exchanged for cash. A high roller does not walk get $1 million in rolling chips, cash it out ten minutes later, and walk out. You have to gamble them.
Non-Negotiable Chips and Dead Chips
When players win using rolling chips, their winnings are paid using cash chips. These they can cash-out for real money. The non-negotiable chips that are lost are kept by the casino as “dead chips”, which provide the casino of an accurate count of how much the player has lost.
In Macau, junket operators often run their own private rooms inside a casino, essentially paying a percentage of revenues to rent the space. Whoever offers the rolling chips, a player given rolling chips must wager the sum. The main factor is the creditor can depend on roughly 2.7% to 3% return on their credit, because that is the expected return. Since it’s gambling, the bottom line fluctuates for whoever offers rolling chips. Casino markers sometimes go unpaid and require lawsuits and (under Nevada law) criminal cases to have the creditor receive the payments due to them.
Commissions Paid to High Rollers
Rolling chip programs pay a commission to players who buy into the program. Obviously, when you lock yourself in to wagering a million dollars (or some other large sum), it is a boon to the casino operators. They thus pay a commission to high stakes gamblers willing to agree to such terms. One can see the commission as a form of cashback for high volume usage, but with a more direct
David G. Schwartz, director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, says that the Lucky Dragon’s rolling chips program allows pit bosses to know how much a player gambles, instead of making an educated guess. The “dead chips” are counted by the pit boss, who then pays a commission on the losses. In that way, dead chips are like the online casino cashback or monthly insurance programs which are common now in Internet gambling.
Foxwoods Casino’s Rolling Chips
This is not the first time American casinos have used rolling chip programs, though most experiments have been outside Las Vegas. In 2009, Foxwoods Casino began a rolling chips program under its then-president, Michael Speller. It was said that Tan Sri T.K. Kim, the CEO of Genting Group, flew to Connecticut to confer with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council on how to implement the Foxwoods Casino rolling chips program.
Best Sunshine Live Casino
Currently, Best Sunshine Live casino in the U.S. Overseas Territory of Saipan in the Northern Marianas uses rolling chips. The Best Sunshine Live was built to attract Chinese high rollers and is thought to be a big success, though the Saipan government received criticism for offering Best Sunshine Live a 0% tax rate.
Lucky Dragon VIP Room
While the Lucky Dragon Casino was designed to attract foreign Chinese high rollers and Chinese-American players from California, it should be noted that the casino is available to players of all nationalities. Much of the media coverage of the casino’s opening had to do with the authentic Chinese designs, right down the Feng Shui being used in room design. The Lucky Dragon welcomes all players, though.