Sands Announces Plans to Exit Pennsylvania Casino Market Ahead of Online Poker
The Las Vegas Sands Corporation announced plans to exit the Pennsylvania casino market this week. The company has entered a $1.3 billion deal to sell its Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem to the Alabama-based tribal gaming operator Wind Creek Hospitality.
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul heading Sands, expressed an interest in selling Sands Bethlehem once it became apparent that Pennsylvania would legalize online gambling. Around the middle of last year reports circulated that MGM was interested in the property, but a deal never materialized.
For years Adelson has been the most prominent and most influential opponent of online gambling. As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Adelson was able to leverage campaign contributions to influence politicians to join his fight against regulated online gaming.
Having lost the fight in Pennsylvania, it was only a matter of time before Adelson, and Las Vegas Sands decided to leave town. The company announced the deal on Thursday and said they have no immediate plans to repurpose the proceeds from the sale.
Sands remains the world's largest casino developer by revenue, with properties in Las Vegas, Singapore, and Macau. In a press release about the sale, Adelson summed up Sands 10-year history with the property as a “strong foundation” for future success.
The sale should allow Sands to make their exit from Pennsylvania just before state regulators begin the process of approving online gambling operators. They will also avoid an influx of competition from 10 mini-casinos, which will start popping up around the state in the next year.