- The Sands Bethlehem is now the Wind Creek Bethlehem.
- The new branding brings the venue in line with other Wind Creek Hospitality holdings.
- The Wind Creek Bethlehem does not yet offer sports betting.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After acquiring the Sands Bethlehem from Las Vegas Sands in late May, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians this week changed the name of the popular Pennsylvania venue to reflect their own Wind Creek Hospitality brand.
The Sands Bethlehem is now officially the Wind Creek Bethlehem.
While the $1.3 billion casino was the smallest venue for its former owner, it is the largest property in the Wind Creek Hospitality portfolio.
And it’s going to get even bigger, as the Tribe has committed $340 million to expand the facility.
Improvements will include a 300-room hotel tower, more than doubling the current count of 282 rooms and suites. Convention space will also be expanded by 42,000 square feet, while an adjacent space will be transformed into a 300,000-square-foot water/theme park. That addition may also get a 400-room hotel of its own, though such plans are far from final.
Even before the scheduled upgrades, the Wind Creek Bethlehem is already one of the busiest casinos in Pennsylvania. The venue boasts annual traffic of over nine million visitors.
With the recent expansion of online casino gaming and legal sports betting in the state, that figure should continue to grow.
Notably, online casino gambling has not yet launched at the Wind Creek Bethlehem. As a condition of the venue’s sale, however, Las Vegas Sands did pay the state’s $10 million license fee to offer the Internet-based gambling services. Online gambling launched in Pennsylvania on July 15, and Wind Creek is aiming at a fall rollout.
Also interestingly, sports betting is not yet available at the Wind Creek Bethlehem. The venue has not yet requested a license for the pastime from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB).
Still, this is no cause for concern. Because Las Vegas Sands was shopping the casino to potential buyers for several years leading up to the Poarch Creek sale, the previous owners never submitted a sports wagering license application to the PGCB.
Though sports wagering is largely considered to be a player amenity rather than a major source of revenue for casino operators, the Poarch Creek Indians likely intend to pay the mandated $10 million license fee in order to launch a book of their own.
That said, the Tribe views Pennsylvania sports wagering as a secondary priority behind getting their online casino offerings up and running.
“As for sports betting, we’re not quite as far along in negotiations there, although we have identified a couple of prominent providers that we think would help us in that arena,” said Arthur Mothershed, VP of business development for the Poarch Creek Indians. “We are negotiating with some sports betting providers, and we’re analyzing the revenues that we believe can come from that and trying to work out an amicable agreement between us and them.
Andy has been writing professionally for nearly two decades, with the last three years being dedicated to his primary passions: sports wagering news and gambling industry analyses. A walk-on punter, Andy has a particular interest in professional football, baseball, and horse racing betting. Come early May, you can always catch Andy – clad in all white, mint julep in hand – on Millionaires Row at Churchill Downs. In his dreams.