Summary: Sands Bethlehem Casino to be sold to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to become the Wind Creek Casino Resort.
The Sands Bethlehem Casino is one of the most successful in the state of Pennsylvania. The Las Vegas Sands Corp., the company behind the brand, is set to sell to the casino to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The acquisition will cost a total of $1.3 billion and has yet to be completed. Once finalized, the property will no longer be known as the Sands Bethlehem but will be called the Wind Creek Casino Resort.
Approved Name Change
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians may not be familiar to residents of Pennsylvania, but the tribe is very well-known in the south as a casino and resort operator. The tribe operates under the name Wind Creek Hospitality and want to use that name with the Sands Casino.
With the acquisition of the Sands Casino, the Wind Creek Hospitality group will enter the northeast gaming market for the very first time. It will also be the first time the group is operating in a state that offers online gambling in a regulated market.
Last week, the group was approved by the Bethlehem Planning Commission to change the name from the Sands to the Wind Creek Casino. The group has yet to earn the transfer of casino license approval from the Gaming Control Board but went ahead and sough the name change from the Planning Commission.
The Gaming Control Board has to hear the application of the two casino operators, the Sands Corp. and Wind Creek Hospitality. The transfer paperwork was filed back in late February and has yet to be heard by the Board. The Board doesn’t seem to ever be in a huge hurry to complete applications, as has been seen in the past with other considerations, including online gaming.
Plans for Expansion
As the Wind Creek Hospitality company takes over control of the Sands Casino, they will begin an expansion process. The group plans on spending $190 million to expand on the property’s offering. The expansion will include 300 new hotel guest rooms. The plans may also include an indoor water park.
On top of the casino acquisition, the Wind Creek group will be in control of the nearby outlet mall and events center.
Wind Creek wants to begin as quickly as possible with the casino project. Once the final approval has been given, officials will begin the construction process to get the ball rolling on the new guest rooms. With the project, as many as 400 jobs will be created on top of the 2,500 employees that are already working at the venue.
Currently the Sands Casino is the closest venue to New York City, so it stands to be profitable for the Wind Creek Hospitality group. The resort style casino is the closet option for visitors as well as residents of NYC.
For now, Wind Creek will be the best option in the region, staying on top in PA as well as a top choice for New York. However, the venue could potentially see competition as gaming operators are currently asking lawmakers in New York for a casino in the five boroughs of the state. Several operators are hoping to enter the NY market including Sands Corp.
If Sands were to get licensing in New York, then they would become a competitor to their former venue, soon to be taken over by Wind Creek.