The Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem is up for sale, according to an anonymously sourced Bloomberg News story published in The Morning Call.
The story, which cites “people with knowledge of the situation” says that Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns the South Bethlehem casino complex, is looking to sell it for $1 billion.
Not quite 4 years old – and now including a hotel, a shopping mall and an events center – the Sands draws 7½ million visitors to Bethlehem annually and employs more than 2,000 people.
With $437 million in gross revenue from gambling alone in 2012, the Sands is the second biggest earner among Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos.
And Pennsylvania was the second biggest gambling market in the country – after Las Vegas, but ahead of Atlantic City – for the second year in a row, according to this report in The Express Times.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported that the Sands was the state’s top earner in table games play, with $146 million in gross revenue in 2012.
The Bethlehem casino opened in June 2009, promising to be an anchor of a new arts and entertainment complex envisioned on 110 acres at the western end of the massive and shuttered Bethlehem Steel plant.
Two years later, in June 2011, the Sands opened a 302-room hotel – the largest and the first full-service hotel to open in the Lehigh Valley in more than 20 years. An upscale outlet shopping mall was opened for business in November 2011.
In May, an adjoining 50,000-square-foot event center opened. A partnership of the Sands, Live Nation and Vision Entertainment Group, the Sands Bethlehem Event Center has hosted boxing matches, a food and wine festival and numerous concerts. Next week, it will host the Phillies Winter Banquet.
In November, city and Northampton County officials announced plans to attract a developer to build a convention center nearby.