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MGM Potential Buyer of Sands Bethlehem Casino
- March 6, 2017 By Oliver Young -
We are still unsure what changes will this year bring for casino players and operators in Pennsylvania, regarding the laws and legislation, as we still don’t know whether a new law will be passed. The Supreme Court extended the deadline until when a decision can be reached and the new deadline is May 26. Things are looking good for the industry as a whole, as according to a report from 2016 Pennsylvania had higher tax revenue than Nevada.
Despite the fact that casino gaming is a very lucrative business in Pennsylvania, it seems that one of the largest players on the market, Las Vegas Sands, is considering selling its major Sands Bethlehem Casino, it has been reported. It remains to be seen whether the company owned by Sheldon Adelson will resort to such a drastic measure and actually sell the profitable casino and step out of the Pennsylvanian casino market altogether.
Sands Bethlehem Is a Profitable Casino
To make things even more interesting, it is MGM Resorts International, one of Sands’ fiercest rivals that is now considered to be the most serious candidate interested in purchasing the Bethlehem casino complex. The press are already speculating about this, even though both companies have neither confirmed nor rejected the claims.
Sands Bethlehem is one of the most profitable and biggest casinos in all of Pennsylvania. The casino’s net revenue was $549 million in 2015 and $571 million in 2016. The total casino gaming revenue in Pennsylvania was $3.2 billion in 2016, which clearly shows that the impact of the Sands Bethlehem Casino on the overall market is quite large.
Las Vegas Sands did confirm that a potential sale is discussed, but they added that it doesn’t mean that a deal will be concluded in the end. According to the laws of Pennsylvania, there would have to be a full review conducted by the Gaming Control Board of the country, before the legality of such a sale is validated.
Is this Another One of Adelson’s Games?!
One may wonder why Sands would sell such a profitable casino. Some claimed that this has to do with the fact that Sands wants to focus more funds and effort on developing their other resorts, like Sands Las Vegas, Sands Macau and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Others have suggested that the planned sale might actually have more to do with Pennsylvania’s plans to legalise online gambling. It is a well-known fact that Adelson is one of the biggest opponents of online gambling, and recently he threatened that he would take Sands out of Pennsylvania if the state legalises online gambling. The proposed sale is seen as a form of pressure, as Adelson has been lobbying for a federal ban on online gambling for quite a while.
It should be noted that this is not the first time that Sands considered selling its Bethlehem casino. In 2014 it was also announced that Sands Bethlehem would be sold and New York businessman and casino owner Carl Icahn was then interested in buying the casino. However, the two parties didn’t reach an agreement.