The sale is still not final, but we do have a new name for what is currently known as Sands Bethlehem Casino. That moniker is getting kicked to the curb once the $1.3 billion sale to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is complete.
Say hello to Wind Creek Casino Resort!
City of Bethlehem approved name change
Poarch Band of Creek Indians operates several southern casinos and resorts under its company, Wind Creek Hospitality. The Sands purchase is its first northeast casino and the first in a market with regulated online gambling.
The Bethlehem Planning Commission approved Wind Creek Hospitality’s request to change the name on the iconic iron crane adorning the entrance of the casino on Thursday. The group put in for the name change even though they are still missing a very important approval.
Both Sands Corp. and Wind Creek Hospitality filed paperwork with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to approve the transfer of casino license on Feb. 21, per Lehigh Valley Live.
As of now, PGCB has not set a date to hear the two casinos’ application. The next PGCB meeting takes place on April 17, which is the earliest they will be heard.
Wind Creek has expansion plans in mind for casino
The sign is not the only thing that will be changing in the coming months. Once the company takes control, it will immediately begin a $190 million expansion of the property. The most noteworthy addition is 300 new hotel rooms.
That is not to say customers at the property have to say goodbye to everything. The company is also taking control of the popular outlet mall, the events center, and the historic blast furnaces. Not long after news broke on the sale, Wind Creek started working with local officials to preserve the steel mills that are an iconic part of the property.
May have to contend with competition…from Sands
One of the biggest competitive advantages Sands has over other PA casinos is its proximity to New York City. It’s less than 90 miles from the city, which makes it the closest resort-style casino for the area.
That may not last though. Multiple gaming companies are lobbying New York state officials for a casino in the five boroughs. One of those companies is none other than Sands Bethlehem’s previous owner, Sands Corp. Should Sands succeed in getting a Big Apple casino, it will be immediate competition for Wind Creek Casino. And with a prime location in the city, the safe bet is that the property would take a big chunk out of the PA casino’s profits.
However, that project currently remains a longshot, so Wind Creek should retain its status as one of the top-three revenue-generating casinos in the state. Sands Bethlehem recently fell to third place behind Rivers Casino for the first time. The new influx of money into the property and excitement around the new look and feel of the property could be exactly what it needs to reclaim the number-two spot.