MGM Resorts the Reported Buyer for Sands Bethlehem Casino

by Kyle Miller

MGMReports surfaced last week that the Sands Bethlehem Casino was up for sale and now it seems MGM Resorts is the buyer.

In the casino industry, there are small and large players. Companies like the Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International are considered major players in the industry as they own multiple gaming properties located around the globe. When a new casino license comes up for grabs, at least one of these companies can be expected to show interest, if not both! Just recently, it was reported that a Sands property was up for sale and now it seems that the MGM Resorts Company is showing interest as the buyer.

Up for Sale

Last week it was revealed that the Sands Bethlehem Casino of Pennsylvania could be up for sale after an email was sent out to employees. Word of the potential sale quickly spread like wildlife and now it seems that MGM Resorts International is the interested buyer. However, neither company has confirmed or denied any such reports.

The Sands Bethlehem Casino is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is one of the most profitable for the state as well as largest in size. Last year, the venue was able to earn net revenues of $571 million with just a little less earned in 2015, at $549 million. That being said, any company would be able to profit from the purchase of the major gaming contributor in the state. The casino holds a majority share of gaming revenues in the state and would be able to make any company quite profitable.

The Las Vegas Sands did say that they were talking about a potential sale of the Pennsylvania casinos but this does not mean a deal is done. It does take many months for a transaction of such magnitude to be completed. State law requires that a comprehensive review take place by the Gaming Control Board to make sure the deal is legal and should be approved.

Why Sell?

Because the Sands property is so successful, many are wondering why the casino would be up for sale. The property is a major contributor of revenues but is also different to what the Las Vegas Sands venues provide. Consider other resorts owned by the company in areas such as Macau, Singapore or Las Vegas. The integrated resorts in these areas are of massive proportions and much larger than the venue that the company owns in Pennsylvania.

The company has actually focused on investing in properties that are multi-purpose, offering gaming but also focusing on other areas of entertainment beyond the realm of gambling. Casinos around the world are actually focusing their attention on non-gaming aspects in order to have a steady stream of income due to gaming becoming less popular with the younger generation.

One must also consider the casino may be up for sale due to the Sands not being interested in online gaming. Pennsylvania has been focused on passing online gambling legislation for some time now and Las Vegas Sands owner, Sheldon Adelson, is not a fan. Adelson has spent a ton of money and many hours pushing to see online gambling banned across the United States on a federal level. He is certainly not interested in his property offering online gaming and could have fallen behind if the state ends up passing legislation.

This is not the first time the casino would be put up for sale. In 2014, the casino was listed and had a potential buyer in Carl Icahn, a billionaire investor, however the deal fell through. It will be interesting to see if MGM or the Sands confirms the potential sale and what will come of a deal, if one truly is in the works.