License Renewed for Sands Bethlehem

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board renewed the license of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem for five years after a routine hearing that made no mention of the property’s impending sale.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board awarded a five-year license renewal to Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem after a routine 35-minute hearing. Never mentioned in the hearing was the impending sale of the property by Las Vegas Sands Corp. to Wind Creek Hospitality, an arm of Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians, in a $1.3 billion deal.

The sale is expected to close late this year or early next year, after which the property will be known as Wind Creek Bethlehem. It is expected the tribe will continue to develop the former industrial site, making use of more of the historical buildings on the site, the former Bethlehem Steel plant.

The hearing concentrated on the property itself, with a slide presentation to the board highlighting the casino offerings, non-gaming amenities and community impact of the Sands property. Carr also told the board that Sands recently completed a $5.7 million renovation of its high-limit pit, a $6 million renovation of its poker room and an investment of $7.4 million in the nation’s largest electronic table games stadium.

Carr also addressed the future prospects for the property in the face of new competition for New York gamblers in Resorts World Catskills. He said the new resort has had a limited impact on Sands so far, thanks in part to ongoing improvements such as the 2016 $12 million renovation of the Sands’ 282-room hotel.

“As we continue to think about future growth into the rest of the facility, I think the No. 1 thing is how do we turn it more into a resort destination and that getaway for our guests,” Carr said.