MGM-Sands Deal In Bethlehem Could Take At Least Six Months

Written By J.R. Duren on April 2, 2017 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
Sands MGM PA casino deal

[toc]When two casino magnates strike a deal, it is quite literally a big deal.

Earlier this month, Bethlehem’s WFMZ talked with several officials involved in the transfer of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem from Sands Corporation to MGM International.

The deal could be done in as few as six months, but there’s a good chance it could be longer considering the intricate web of regulations involved.

At the center of the deal is the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which will oversee the transaction.

“We want to make sure the facilities are financially sound because of the partnership these casinos have with the Commonwealth,” said PGCB Communications Director Doug Harbach, estimating these processes could take at least six months.

“We want to make sure these facilities are safe for the patrons, and we want to make sure the games are fair.”

Why will the Sands-MGM deal take so long?

The quick answer is regulation.

Sands and MGM are massive organizations. State protocol says the PGCB has to vet both companies to approve the acquisition.

Harbach told WFMZ that because MGM doesn’t operate a casino in the state, investigators have to start “from the ground up” and research MGM’s operations, its “financial records,” “diversity practices,” and the “backgrounds of the individuals who work for MGM.”

Sands email first indicated sale to MGM

The Motley Fool reported on March 22 that Sands President Robert G. Goldstein sent an email to employees indicating a sale was in the works to a single buyer.

The assumption was that MGM was that buyer. Earlier in the month, the company was reportedly “willing to pay $1.3 billion for the resort.”

What’s interesting about MGM is that, according to Motley Fool, most of the company’s revenue comes from US casinos. Sands relies on tables and slots at its Macau properties.

The Sands sale makes sense considering both organizations’ business models, and MGM is wise to acquire the Sands. It is Pennsylvania’s second-highest grossing casino in this fiscal year.

In fact, the Sands topped Parx for the most table games revenue in February.

The casino’s $18.72 million take in February marked a 6.99 percent increase over the previous year. Parx saw 2.82 percent growth in revenue.

Image credit: Andy Borysowski /

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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