Las Vegas Sands to Sell Philly-Area Casino for $1.3B

Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, will acquire the property in Bethlehem, Pa. The transaction is scheduled to close by year’s end or in early 2019.

By Barbra Murray

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa.
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa.

Roughly a decade after opening the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, in Bethlehem, Pa., Las Vegas Sands Corp. has entered into an agreement to sell the property to Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama. The asset changed hands for $1.3 billion.

LVS is planning a smooth transition. “We’ve become an important regional entertainment destination because of our commitment to our customers. That’s not going to change regardless of what the sign on the top of the building might read,” Brian Carr, president of Sands Bethlehem, said in a prepared statement.

Located roughly 60 miles outside of Philadelphia and 90 miles from Manhattan, Sands Bethlehem occupies a 126-acre site that had been home to the historic Bethlehem Steel plant until its closing in 1995. The property sat vacant for more than 10 years, until it was snapped up for the development of the casino resort. Sands Bethlehem opened in two phases, with the 183,000-square-foot casino making its debut in 2009, followed by the 2011 unveiling of the property’s 282-room hotel tower, 150,000-square-foot The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem retail center, a 50,000-square-foot event facility, and an arts and cultural center.

The planned disposition doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. “LVS has publicly discussed a potential sale of the asset for some time now as it does not fit well in the company’s broader portfolio of large-scale, integrated resorts in international destinations,” Fitch Ratings asserts in a note on the pending transaction. LVS also owns The Venetian and The Palazzo resorts and Sands Expo in Las Vegas, as well as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

If all goes as planned, the sale of Sands Bethlehem will close later this year or in early 2019.

Fun and games

The U.S. gaming industry is faring quite well. Revenue in 2017 reached $41.2 billion, marking a year-over-year increase of 3.7 percent, according to Adams Revenue Revue, a study produced for CDC Gaming Reports.

Recent notable news in the industry includes Witkoff’s announcement that, after having purchased the partially built Fontainebleau project in Las Vegas for $600 million, it will complete the development and open it as The Drew Las Vegas, a 4,000-key Las Vegas resort and casino. Pechanga Development Corp. completed the $285 million expansion of The Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., just outside Los Angeles. Additionally, in Bridgeport, Conn., MGM Resorts International and partner Seaview Bridgeport LLC are awaiting legislative approval for the development of the MGM Bridgeport, a $500 million casino resort.

Image courtesy of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

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