The winds of change are blowing again in Bethlehem.
Wind Creek Hospitality announced the appointment of Kathy McCracken as the new Executive Vice President and General Manager of Wind Creek Casino. McCracken, formerly the property’s executive vice president of marketing and operations, rises to the top spot held by Brian Carr, who is leaving the organization.
A gaming industry veteran
McCracken, a long-tenured veteran of the gaming industry, possesses a background in operations, marketing, and systems. According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s been with the property since 2007.
James Dorris, President & CEO of Wind Creek commented on their new GM:
“Kathy brings upbeat and collaborative leadership to the property. Her ability to help the employees continue through the ongoing expansion efforts will be invaluable. We are very pleased that she is willing to lead the team to establish Wind Creek Bethlehem as the premier gaming and entertainment destination in the Northeast.”
Carr’s LinkedIn indicates he’s been at the property since April 2015 after a stint with Caesars in Bossier City, Louisiana. The press release did not provide a reason for Carr’s departure.
Dorris said of Carr:
“Brian did a fantastic job keeping the staff and employees focused and committed to the property during the time that it took for the sale to close. We wish him well as he moves on to explore his next opportunities.”
Wind Creek expansion in the works
Change has been in the air for a while at Wind Creek. In March 2018, the then-Sands Bethlehem Casino began the $1.4 billion sale to Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The deal took about about fourteen months to complete. The rebranding to Wind Creek Casino is complete but there is still plenty in the works. Wind Creek Hospitality plans to invest an estimated $340 million in updating and expanding the property.
The press release announcing McCracken’s new role touts her strong leadership and assures the property is now poised to take a “monumental step forward.”
Highlights of the future plans for Wind Creek Bethlehem include a hotel and water park.
According to LehighValleylive.com Wind Creek Casino got the city’s approval on Feb. 14 for a new 13-story hotel tower connected to its existing hotel. Construction is scheduled to begin in April and be completed by the end of 2021.
The expansion includes:
- 270 new rooms
- 35,200 square feet of meeting space
- 5,400-square-foot bar off the lobby
- 6,424-square-foot pool
- 24,000-square-foot ballroom
- 11,600-square-foot spa spanning the top floor
A 300,000 square-foot adventure and water park at the existing No. 2 Machine Shop Bethlehem Steel site with a 400 to 450-room hotel adjacent to the adventure park is also planned.
Last month, Betfred partnered with Scientific Games to bring retail and online sports betting to Wind Creek Casino. However, Wind Creek still needs to file a petition to conduct sports wagering with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Retail sports betting should be in Bethlehem during the first half of 2020. The target to join PA online betting apps is prior to the start of the next NFL season.
Wind Creek rules the tables, lures New Yorkers
According to reports from the PGCB, Wind Creek Casino finished 2019 second in total revenue in Pennsylvania with $522 million. It represented a minuscule uptick (.22%) from the previous year. They ranked first for table games revenue ($237.2 million) and third in slot revenue ($284.9 million).
Wind Creek Casino is 82 miles (about 90 minutes via Interstate 78) from New York. Since sports bettors in New York currently have to travel to tribal casinos or Upstate casinos to place wagers, Wind Creek has long been a draw for New Yorkers.
As legislators in New York continue to drag their feet on adding more casinos and allowing mobile sports betting, Wind Creek is adding more gaming and non-gaming amenities to continue to attract customers from within and outside of the state.