Category Archives: Sands Bethlehem

Sands Bethlehem sets table revenue record as private equity group kicks casino’s tires

sands-bethlehem-table-game-revenue-recordA New York-based private equity group says it’s preparing to make an offer to buy the Sands Bethlehem casino in Pennsylvania.

On Friday, Allentown-based independent television channel WFMZ-TV reported that New York City private investment group Keating & Associates was preparing an offer for Sands Bethlehem, the Las Vegas Sands property that is the state’s perennial top table game earner and its number-two slots performer.

Keating’s chief strategist Alex Fredericks told the station that “we suspect in the next 30 days we’ll tender a very serious offer.” Fredericks said the portfolio of his “relatively new” group did not currently contain any casino properties.

Regardless, Keating appears smitten with the US casino industry, and Fredericks claimed that Keating was trying to establish an east coast casino beachhead before expanding to Las Vegas and Miami (where casinos currently aren’t legal, but what the hey-hey).

Sands Bethlehem has been on the block for a while now, with a $1.3b bid by rival MGM Resorts falling through this spring. It’s unclear whether Keating has this kind of financing at its disposal, and not everyone is convinced Keating’s Bethlehem bid is serious. Sands Bethlehem reps have yet to comment on the report.

Keating’s name recently surfaced in media reports claiming that the group had made a $225m bid to acquire the mothballed Revel/TEN casino in Atlantic City. That report has been denied by Revel/TEN’s owner, Florida developer Glenn Straub, who also denied similar reports about a Colorado-based firm reaching a deal for the casino.

Fredericks told WFMZ that Keating was preparing to finalize its Revel offer, and insisted that Keating’s co-chairman Jeff Keating had indeed met with Straub, whose denials were explained away as a “business ploy.”

Meanwhile, Sands Bethlehem continues to dominate the monthly table game revenue charts. Figures released Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board showed Sands well out in front with nearly $22.7m in table revenue in September, a year-on-year improvement of nearly 17% and a new personal best for the property, eclipsing the $21.9m the venue reported in April.

Parx Casino in Philadelphia retained its traditional table bridesmaid role, generating just over $15m (+6.8%), while SugarHouse ranked third with $9.4m (+7.4%). All told, only two of the state’s 12 casinos were in negative table territory for the month, and the statewide total gained 9.9% to $75.6m.

Parx is traditionally the state’s combined slots and table revenue king, but Sands Bethlehem’s record table run allowed it to eclipse Parx in September, albeit by the narrowest of margins. Sands Bethlehem earned a combined $47.5m in September, $59k higher than Parx.


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Sands Bethlehem fined $150k for 10 underage gambling incidents

sands-bethlehem-underage-gambling-drinkingStop us if you’ve heard this one already, but Las Vegas Sands’ Pennsylvania casino has been caught (again) letting young ‘uns gamble and drink.

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced a whopping $182,500 in fines against three of its licensees, although the bulk ($150k) was leveled against Las Vegas Sands’ Sands Bethlehem property for underage gaming violations.

As detailed by the PGCB, Sands Bethlehem was cited for no less than 10 separate incidents over a roughly five-month span in which individuals as young as 16 years old were able to gain access to the casino’s gaming floor, where they proceeded to wager at slot machines and gaming tables.

One 20-year-old female gained access to Sands Bethlehem’s gaming floor on three separate occasions during a single day, during which she managed to play some slots and quaff some booze. Another 20-year-old female enjoyed a similar slots-and-hooch cocktail in a separate incident, while also throwing in some table game action as a chaser.

The PGCB noted that all 10 incidents were self-reported by the casino, which has gained a reputation as Pennsylvania’s premier destination for underage gamblers. In the most recent report this January, Sands Bethlehem was fined $50k for four underage violations, including a 19-year-old male whose fake ID claimed he was 33.

Sands introduced new ID scanning technology in March and the property’s general counsel Michael Magazzu told the PGCB that he’d “love to tell you we have had a perfect record since March 13, but that is not the case.” Magazzu warned that “even with the best technology, it’s very difficult to prevent” minors gaining access to the gaming floor.

The irony is, of course, delicious, given Sands’ owner Sheldon Adelson’s oft-repeated mantra that online gambling sites should be banned because they lack the capacity to determine whether their customers are old enough to legally wager.

As videos produced by the Adelson-funded Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) make clear, “don’t let anyone tell you that there’s technology that can fully protect our children” from finding ways to gamble online. But if those kids also want to drink booze, they’ll have to go to Sands Bethlehem.


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