Sands Bethlehem Plans $93M Casino Expansion

The Sands Bethlehem in Northeast Pennsylvania, which opened for business in May 2009, is now awaiting approval by the state’s Gaming Control Board to expand its property by around 100,000 square feet. If successful, the development will cost around $93 million, with construction expected to get underway during the first quarter of 2017.
The project will take up to nine months to complete, and enable the venue to add 1,000 new gaming seats to its casino floor, and a new poker room, as well as allow for the building of two additional restaurants, and improved back-of-house facilities. Commenting on the expansion, Sands Bethlehem CEO Mark Juliano stated:
“We are well above capacity, particularly on the weekend. We know there are nights when people can’t find an open slot machine or a seat at a table they can afford. There’s a need to add space to handle the demand.”
Sands Bethlehem’s decision to develop its property was given a boost recently, after neighboring New Jersey residents failed to approve a referendum to expand casino gambling to the north of the state. Had it been approved, Sands Bethlehem would likely have been negatively affected by the increased competition, but now Mark Juliano says that he remains confident that the casino will remain the “Northeast’s premiere gaming and entertainment destinations.”
While Pennsylvania overtook New Jersey as the country’s second biggest casino market in 2012, the latter still enjoys the advantage of having a fully regulated online gambling industry. This is also a situation that is likely to remain the same, if left to the Sands Bethlehem, as over the past few years Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson has been leading a campaign to have the industry banned on a federal basis. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania is set to consider online gambling legislation at the start of 2017, despite the fact that Adelson has warned such a development may affect his decision to reinvest in the Sands Bethlehem. As Sands Bethlehem CEO Mark Juliano commented recently, “we’re certainly not going to continue to make a commitment to reinvest if they follow through with this.”

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