Online gambling was legalized in the state of Pennsylvania last fall, something that had been strongly opposed for years by billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson. This week, Adelson’s company, Las Vegas Sands, announced that it would be selling its sole casino, Sands Bethlehem casino-resort, in the Keystone State.
During a press release on Thursday 8th of March 2018, Las Vegas Sands revealed that it had entered into an agreement with Wind Creek Hospitality that will be purchasing the Sands Bethlehem resort-casino for $1.3 billion. Wind Creek Hospitality, as it turns out, is an affiliate company of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama which is the only federally recognized Indian tribe in Alabama – it is even allowed to operate as a sovereign nation with their own system of government and bylaws. Also, the Poarch Creek Indians partly descend from the original Creek Nation that occupied Georgia and Alabama but in the present day, a majority of the 3,000 member tribe live in Escambia County, Ala.
Wind Creek Hospitality currently operates three casinos on tribal land within the state of Alabama – two near Montgomery (Wind Creek Montgomery and Wind Creek Wetumpka) and one in Atmore. When compared to the over 150,000 square feet casino floor at Sands Bethlehem casino-resort, the tribe’s three casinos’ floors are all on the smaller side, ranging from Wetumpka’s 85,000 square feet to Atmore’s 57,000.
Sand Bethlehem casino-resort was opened in 2009 on the site that was formerly occupied by the Bethlehem Steel’s headquarters plant. This saw to the transformation of the country’s once largest industrial complex into an $800 million gambling destination that was graced by magnitudes of players from New York and New Jersey among many other states.
“Sands Bethlehem has become one of the leading regional entertainment and gaming destinations in the United States and we are extremely proud of the positive contributions the property has made for Bethlehem … and eastern Pennsylvania,” Sheldon Adelson said in a statement.
Sands had been planning to sell off the property for quite some time now but they did not immediately reveal where the proceeds of the sale would be directed towards. However, they did mention that the sale would “enhance liquidity as Sands pursues new development opportunities and returns capital to shareholders.”
The deal still needs to be approved by Pennsylvanian gambling regulators but this process could stretch to over a year. Regardless, Brian Carr, Sands Bethlehem’s president assured customers that the pending sale would have no impact whatsoever on casino operations.