One the lingering questions regarding the soon-to-be-launched Pennsylvania online gambling market was what role the Sheldon Aldeson-owned Sands Bethlehem casino would have on the market. Would they reluctantly participate or would they avoid the market altogether? We know have our answer.
On Thursday, longstanding rumors were put to rest as it was announced that Sands Bethleham would be sold for $1.3 billion to a group out state. The deal comes nearly a year since a deal with MGM fell through.
Las Vegas Sands shares were up nearly 5% on the news.
Details of the deal
The purchase of Sands Bethleham was made by Wind Creek Hospitality, a subsidiary of Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The organization currently operates casino properties in Alabama and the Caribbean as well as Florida poker rooms.
In order for the deal to go through, it will first need to be approved by the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board, which could take up to a year to complete.
Although online gambling possibly played a role in the sale, Sands was also quoted as saying the casino meet its business model as a large international meeting and convention destination.
Sands Bethlehem mot a good fit for PA?
As Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion plays out, it was becoming increasingly clear that Sands Bethlehem was the odd man out.
Sheldon Aldeson was not only one of the biggest opponents of online gambling in Pennsylvania but also in the entire country. Over the last few years, Adelson has nearly singlehandedly held up efforts to suppress online gambling regulation in the United States. Indeed, Sands has arguably contributed more to the lack of online gambling regulation than any other factor over the last five years.
It is not known at this time whether the company intends for a future presence in PA but would appear to be on ice for now. Ironically, Sands did attempt to bid for a mini casino just last month but was rejected due to its proximity to another mini-casino site. It would also appear to be on ice for now.
The $800 million Sands Bethlehem Casino opened in 2009 on the site of the Bethlehem Steel plant and is currently the second largest casino in the state. But despite Sands’ success in PA, the casino is the smallest Sands-owned casino in their portfolio. They also operate casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore.
Sands did not give any specifics of what they would do with the funds after leaving Pennsylvania, but stated that they would pursue new development opportunities across the country.
Although the casino will eventually see a name change, Sands Casino will continue to operate as is for now, at least until a deal is finalized.