Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) has sold its Sands Bethlehem casino operation for $1.3 billion to Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, the companies announced Thursday.
The move had been anticipated because of LVS’s Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson’s desire to focus on its significant international meeting and convention destinations, such as those in Las Vegas and Macau. Industry observers also note that the exit from Pennsylvania may have been prompted by Adelson’s major opposition to parts of the recently approved casino expansion in the state that includes the possibility of online gambling.
MGM Resorts International’s bid for the Bethlehem casino was abandoned last year for similar reasons fearing new laws that would create additional competition for the traditional physical casinos in the state.
Sands Bethlehem is Pennsylvania’s second-highest-grossing casino, according to Bloomberg. It opened in 2009.
The Poarch Band is the only federally recognized Indian tribe in the state of Alabama. It’s subsidiary, Wind Creek Hospitality, runs three casinos on tribal land in Alabama, far smaller than Sands Bethlehem, with a casino floor of over 150,000 square feet. The Poarch Band also operates a small casino operation for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California in Northern Nevada in Gardnerville.