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Sale comes after potential deal with MGM Resorts fell apart
Sands focusing investment in international destinations
Las Vegas Sands Corp. has sold its casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for $1.3 billion, almost a year after a potential deal with MGM Resorts International fell apart.
Sands, the world’s largest casino operator, sold the property to Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, the company said in a statement Thursday.
Last year, MGM dropped its bid to acquire the casino after performing due diligence on the property. Led by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Sands is parting with an asset that doesn’t fit its focus on large international meeting and convention destinations. Sands, based in Las Vegas, has invested heavily in Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.
MGM’s bid for the Bethlehem casino fell apart last year in part because Pennsylvania lawmakers were considering legislation that expanded online gambling, which represents new competition for traditional casinos. That bill was signed into law last year.
Sands shares rose 3 percent to $75.24 at 11 a.m. New York time. They had gained 5.1 percent this year through Wednesday’s close.
Sands Bethlehem is Pennsylvania’s second-highest-grossing casino, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. While the property, open since 2009, is 120 miles (193 kilometers) from Atlantic City, it is only 85 miles from New York City, a key Atlantic City “feeder market” from which Sands is easily accessible via Interstate 78.
The Poarch Band previously tried to buy the Margaritaville Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana, but were rebuffed when singer Jimmy Buffett required the tribe to make a large payment to get out of its contract.