Sands Casino Bethlehem Sold to Alabama Tribe

Wind Creek Hospitality

Wind Creek HospitalityWind Creek Hospitality has reportedly purchased the Sands Casino Bethlehem for $1.3 billion.

The Sands Casino Bethlehem is a top operating gaming venue located in Pennsylvania. The casino is known for being a solid revenue earner in the state as well as its owners being strongly opposed to online gaming. Now that Pennsylvania has legalized iGaming, it is not surprising to see the casino reportedly sold. News reports have surfaced that state the casino has been sold to Wind Creek Hospitality for $1.3 billion.

Major Purchase

The Las Vegas Sands Corp, the company behind the Sands Casino, broke the news of the sale yesterday, which is said to be the largest real estate transaction in the region to ever take place. The new owner, the Wind Creek Hospitality group, is part of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama. The group already owns several casinos and horse tracks.

The deal will take at least nine months to complete and possibly a year to finalize. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board still has to approve the deal.

A Little History

The Sands Casino Bethlehem is a casino located on 127 acres of land consisting of a whopping 159,000 square feet in space. The casino opened back in 2009 and cost $800 million to construct. Since its opening, the casino has become one of the most successful in the state. During the last fiscal year, the casino earned $540 million which placed them in second place for earnings, just behind the Parx Casino.

On the casino’s gaming floor, players have access to over 3,000 slot machines as well as 235 gaming tables. The casino also has a poker room plus a hotel and event center. With the new purchase, the casino will be the largest operated by Wind Creek.

So now the question becomes, will Wind Creek get in on the online gaming action? Late last year the state legalized online gambling and the industry should get started sometime this year. Licensing opportunities are already in full swing, so once the deal is finalized, Wind Creek could apply for online gaming licensing as well.

In the past, the Sands Casino would never be associated with online gaming as the owner of the Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, is strongly opposed to iGaming. He is possibly the largest opponent of iGaming today as he continues to fund efforts to stop online gaming in the states, even going so far as supporting legislative efforts.

It was never noted by the Sands if they were going to be involved in online gaming in Pennsylvania, but a safe bet would be probably not. So now, the casino may actually be offering iGaming via the new owners. It’s too early to determine whether or not the tribe would be offering online gaming and it might still be some time before they even think about the option since they spent a ton of cash just to acquire the brand.

While the tribe will have the ability to consider online gaming, they may also want to get in on sports betting action. Pennsylvania may soon be offering sports betting, if things fall into place, and this would be yet another area in which Wind Creek could operate. For sports betting to become a reality in the state, the Supreme Court would have to rule against a current federal ban. This may or may not happen, so sports betting in the state is still iffy.

For now, this is surprising news that the Alabama tribe has purchased a venue in PA, particularly that the facility is the Sands. The Sands Casino has reportedly been shopped around for some time and this buyer was not one that anybody expected.